Attempts to mix medical marijuana, NASCAR make for bumpy rides

Two unrelated events this week more than a thousand miles apart involved NASCAR and medical marijuana.
Two unrelated events this week more than a thousand miles apart involved NASCAR and medical marijuana. TNS

Two unrelated events this week more than a thousand miles apart involving NASCAR and medical marijuana stirred the pot.

Wednesday, a Pennsylvania company encountered opposition as it sought permission to use land leased from Pocono Raceway, where two NASCAR Cup Series races take place each year, to grow and process medical marijuana. The company’s president is a part of the family that built and runs the track.

Friday, NASCAR officials ordered the removal of a medical marijuana company’s logo from a Cup Series car in Kansas.

Logo a no-go

The Associated Press reported Friday that driver Carl Long’s No. 66 car arrived at Kansas Motor Speedway with a logo for Veedverks, a Colorado-based medical marijuana dispensary, on its hood.

A NASCAR spokesman said the logo was never vetted and approved, and that it violated rules governing sponsorship and paint schemes. Officials had crew members remove the logo.

A tweet from MBM Motorsports, which Long owns, shows the car before the logo was removed.

Track’s neighbors unhappy

Meanwhile, the Pocono Record reports that neighbors of the Pocono Raceway are fighting with developers over a proposed medical marijuana growing and processing site.

Natural Care presented its plan to the Tunkhannock Township, Pa., Board of Supervisors at a public hearing Wednesday night.

Residents near the track in Long Pond, Pa., expressed concerns about safety, light and noise pollution, property values, water use and the loss of pastoral scenery.

The first phase of the project would include three 10,000 square-foot greenhouses and employ at least 40 workers making a minimum of $15 an hour, according to Ashley Walsh, Natural Care’s president. It would also include a 10-foot high security fence topped with barbed wire, among the concerns expressed at the hearing.

“Who’s going to buy a house with a 10-foot razor wire fence?” Bruce Yerk Jr. asked.

The supervisors have 45 days to decide on Natural Care’s conditional-use application.

If approved, Natural Care still will need a state permit. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill making medical marijuana legal in the state in April 2016.

Family ties

Natural Care would lease the land from the Pocono Raceway, owned by Mattco Inc. A spokesperson for the track declined comment, according to the Pocono Record.

In April, Natural Care’s request for a zoning variance for a medical marijuana dispensary in nearby Bear Creek Township, Pa., was rejected. The Citizens’ Voice reported that Walsh’s aunt – Michele Mattioli-Kulick – owned that property.

Mattioli-Kulick is the daughter of Joseph “Doc” Mattioli, who started Mattco Inc., and and built Pocono Raceway. Mattioli’s grandson, Brandon Idgalsky, is president and CEO of the track.

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