Dank Poet Dispensary, the first cannabis shop set to open in Warren County’s Borough of Washington, is taking an early leap into community activism to rally voters. The dispensary will host an exclusive town hall event for the public with candidates running for state legislative seats in the 23rd District from 7 pm to 9 pm Tuesday (Oct. 24, 2023).
Moderated by veteran media professional and cannabis expert Stu Zakim, the two-hour event will provide candidates a platform to discuss all issues facing New Jersey voters and answer questions from the public. A dedicated segment will focus on the challenges and future prospects of the burgeoning cannabis industry.
“My personal belief is that a business has a responsibility to improve the lives of those within its community,” said Dank Poet CEO Chris Caruso. “The ability to choose our political representatives is the most impactful way to affect the community in which one lives. This event will allow those in the surrounding community to interact directly with their potential representatives and hopefully find answers to how potential electees will represent them.”
building political discourse in NJ’s 23rd legislative district
NJ’s 23rd legislative district which has been a Republican stronghold for more than four decades covers most of Warren, Hunderdon and a portion of Somerset counties. Three incumbent Republicans are seeking re-election in the November 7 race. GOP Sen. Douglas Steinhardt is running against Democrat Denise King. Longtime Republican Assembly incumbents John DiMaio and Erik Peterson are facing Democrats Guy Citron and Tyler Powell.
Caruso said the town hall event will also show other local dispensaries they can be more active in the political space. “Any form of political discourse is important. To have a location that allows the community to interact with candidates and ask questions directly is paramount to a successful political system,” he said. “For many this will be the first time they have heard their candidate speak and be able to interact with them.”
Dank Poet Chief Operating Officer Deb Snow said hosting the town hall aligns with the company’s values of transparency, accountability, and social responsibility. “It demonstrates that we are not just here to do business, but also to be a positive force and partner for change in the local Washington community and beyond,” Snow said. “We hope to be known as a responsible engaged community partner and to also directly and actively impact our local politics by encouraging civic participation and addressing issues important to individuals and businesses.”
Politics play a pivotal role in NJ’s cannabis industry
Gov. Phil Murphy legalized recreational marijuana on Feb. 22, 2021. “This legislation will establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities, while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters,” Murphy said on the historic day. Since then, dozens of dispensaries have opened their doors throughout the Garden State.
Dank Poet Dispensary, which will feature 1200 square feet of retail space, is currently in the final stages of the licensing process and expected to open for business in the next several weeks. Dank Poet Chief Financial Officer Sonia Mangalick said the political climate in New Jersey plays a pivotal role in shaping the viability, growth, and social impact of the cannabis industry. “Given that New Jersey’s cannabis industry is still in its nascent stage, political decisions made now are especially critical, serving as the DNA that will define the industry’s future in terms of fairness, opportunity, safety, and economic potential,” Mangalick said. “Constructive political engagement and policy-making can significantly contribute to the
destigmatization of cannabis, transforming public perception and fostering a more informed and
accepting societal view of the industry.”
The public is invited to attend and ask questions during the event at Dank Poet Dispensary, 245
East Washington Ave., Washington, NJ 07882. Click here to RSVP for the event and submit
your questions in advance