Dear Editor,

The staff who were employed at the Monmouth County Youth Detention Center (which closed earlier this month when the detainees were transferred to Middlesex County under a dubious plan to reduce costs) are rightfully quite upset about losing their jobs and no longer being able to support their families. The ultra-secure facility, centrally located on Dutch Lane Road in Freehold now sits vacant.

Governor Christie recently delayed the start date for New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana program, supposedly over security concerns.

In order to have been employed at the center, all staff were required to pass rigorous background checks, drug screenings and meet stringent standards of good moral character.

Therefore, I propose that the former staff be sent to Oaksterdam University (a medical marijuana vocational school located in Oakland, California) for job training where they would learn all the skills necessary to succeed in the medical marijuana industry.

The former Monmouth County Youth Detention Center could then be converted into a non-profit, state-licensed, “Alternative Treatment Center” which would securely produce and dispense medical marijuana to registered patients. The property could be sold by the county to the non-profit corporation (which would be entirely owned by the former employees) for one dollar, so the county government would have no liability whatsoever.

The cells that formerly held detainees would make very secure indoor hydroponic grow rooms and the barbed wire fencing around the facility would be perfect for secure outdoor growing in warmer months. The front part of the facility (which formerly housed administrative offices) could be used to dispense the medicine to patients as well as provide a lounge for them to medicate on-site.

The former detention center is located next door to a county-run nursing home, the John L. Montgomery Care Center where many seriously-ill patients reside. My proposal would ensure that medical marijuana would be easily accessible to them as well as patients receiving treatments at the nearby CentraState Hospital.

Taxpayers would also significantly benefit from my proposal as the former detention center employees would be off of unemployment and generating significant tax revenue that could be used to reduce property taxes without adversely impacting essential government services.

It would be a win-win situation for everyone.


Eric Hafner
Red Bank