A vacant Walmart in New Jersey will soon be reborn as a thriving, medical cannabis production facility.
According to My Central Jersey, Verano Holdings is planning to revamp an abandoned Walmart on Route 22 in central New Jersey. The company has already held a job fair to hire 100 people, all of which are desired to be local residents. The only employee(s) that will not be local are the positions labeled as “master grower.” Verano received a permit in 2018 from the Department of Health’s Division of Medical Marijuana to start a grow in central New Jersey, as well as a permit to open a dispensary in the city of Elizabeth.
According to Verano Holdings, there won’t be any changes to the external appearance of the former Walmart building. Specialized grow lighting will be installed, and the floor will be stripped back down to concrete, but other than that, building will stay mostly unchanged. They won’t need to use tractor trailers on-site, and they are already working on safe and effective security protocol for the building.
The Walmart that originally stood on the site closed in April 2018 due to financial issues. The store employed 143 people were laid off in the process. The goal with this new facility is to provide more jobs to the community, contribute money toward maintenance of Route 22, and supply the area with more high-quality medical cannabis.
New Jersey is on a path to cannabis reform, but it hasn’t been an easy path. Officials recently moved not to overturn prior cannabis convictions and though they may soon be reviewing fully legalizing cannabis or making changes to their medical program, nothing is yet set in stone. This will be another proactive move that shows the community cannabis can be positive and beneficial.