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Chester County Press

Editorial: A smart growth concept for New Garden Township

10/16/2018 02:28PM ● By Richard Gaw
It was about halfway through the hour-long appeal of Nicholas DeSanctis and David Tuttleman before the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors on Sept. 17, when the same realization hit several in the audience, square in the face: That what DeSanctis and Tuttleman were pitching will introduce New Garden Township, full-throttle, to the modern world and get it a seat at the table.

It is the intent of DeSanctis, a principal with Vedic Holdings, a Bryn Mawr-based commercial real estate company, to pursue the idea of establishing an indoor medical marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facility at 380 Starr Road in Landenberg, a 107,000-square-foot building he owns that is currently leased to a large company. If it passes the litmus tests of approval from the township and the state, it may open as early as 2020, the same year the lease of the building's current occupant expires.

The advantages of opening a facility of this kind in New Garden reads like a long, “no-brainer” of positives, all fresh on the heels of the numbers recently crunched by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, that reported than in the next decade, the legal cannabis industry will reach all corners of the globe, and spending will reach $57 billion a year by 2027. The study also reported that the largest group of cannabis buyers will be in North America, increasing from $9.2 billion in 2017 to an expected $47.3 billion by 2027.

Close to home, DeSanctis told the board that the facility will bring as many as 150 white-collar research jobs to New Garden Township, and help to convert the township into a “hub” for cannabis research and development, that would link it to the leading hospitals and research centers in nearby Wilmington, Chester County, Philadelphia and Maryland.

The facility would also be in lock-step collaboration with efforts currently underway to make southern Chester County a worldwide center of excellence for indoor agriculture, which would bring scientific research teams and individuals from around the world to our community.

Employing 150 white-collar professionals would increase tax revenues for both the township and local school districts.

Just as there are naysayers at nearly every corner of a great idea, the potential start of an indoor medical marijuana cultivation and manufacturing facility will certainly draw from the woodwork those who believe that this facility will convert New Garden Township into a drug den of filth and lawlessness – the economic equivalent of teenage punks selling weed to stoners.

This naivete is galling to hear, and it should be stricken from the conversation, immediately. The use of cannabis for medical purposes is now legal in 31 states including Pennsylvania, as well as in Washington, D.C. and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. Further, the oils and other approved products cultivated from marijuana, commonly known as cannabinoids or CBD, are proven medical supplements that decrease the physiological effects of anxiety; improve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder anxiety; reduce arthritis, chronic and muscle pain, and pain caused by Multiple Sclerosis; and to alleviate the side effects caused by cancer treatment.

DeSanctis returned to the New Garden board on Oct. 15 for a second conditional use hearing, from which the board has 45 days to render its decision on whether to green light the proposed idea. While DeSanctis and Tuttleman wait on the Commonwealth to grant them a license top operate the facility, a “yes” vote by the board would serve as a sign that New Garden Township is willing to enter the new century, the new world and the new way of science and technology, full throttle.