MANALAPAN – With the township prosecutor saying the action was taken “for the time being,” the Manalapan Township committee voted to pass an ordinance banning the operation of any category of cannabis business in the community.
The order was presented on June 16 and a public hearing was held on July 14 at the Manalapan Municipal Complex.
Before opening the public hearing, Mayor Jack McNaboe asked Township Attorney Roger McLaughlin to provide an overview of the order.
“Steps are being taken right now to ban all (six) classes of (cannabis) licenses. While committee members now ban all classes, they can take action at any time to allow any class of license, ”McLaughlin said.
“We are awaiting the release of state regulations and (waiting to see) how they will work. This leaves open the possibility that the city committee may reconsider (tonight’s action)… when the regulatory regime becomes clear, ”said the lawyer.
McNaboe said, “I can’t offer (a revenue projection) on how (the cannabis business licensing) would help Manalapan.”
The mayor said the township would incur expenses to authorize such ventures, but added: “We could definitely revisit this (decision) later.”
During the public hearing, Hugh Giordano spoke on behalf of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 152, which represents people employed in cannabis companies. Giordano said cannabis companies “create good jobs”.
A Manalapan resident who described himself as a 100% disabled military veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder said that cannabis use “saved my life a lot.”
A representative of the cannabis industry said further education was needed on the issue, but acknowledged that the time limit imposed by the state on municipalities to make a decision on licensing cannabis companies was tight.
Following the public hearing, McNaboe brought a motion to adopt the order. The motion was seconded by committee member Barry Jacobson.
In a vote to pass the ordinance, McNaboe, Jacobson, Deputy Mayor Susan Cohen, committee member Eric Nelson and committee member Mary Ann Musich voted “yes”.
The action in Manalapan follows the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act, also known as A-21, which was approved by state lawmakers in February after New Jersey residents voted in 2020 for approve a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana.
State law legalizes the use of recreational marijuana (also known as adult marijuana) for certain adults, subject to state regulation; it decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana and hashish (a concentrate of marijuana); and it is removing marijuana as a Schedule I (high abuse potential) drug.
By August 21, officials in each New Jersey municipality must decide whether one or all state-approved cannabis companies will be allowed to operate within their borders. If they don’t act, automatic zoning will allow cannabis businesses to operate.
Municipal authorities in New Jersey have the option of issuing six types of cannabis-related licenses:
• Cannabis grower license, for facilities involved in the cultivation and cultivation of cannabis;
• Cannabis manufacturer license, for facilities involved in the manufacture, preparation and packaging of cannabis articles;
• Cannabis wholesaler license, for facilities involved in obtaining and selling cannabis items for subsequent resale by other license holders;
• Cannabis Distributor License, for companies involved in the transport of bulk cannabis plants from one licensed grower to another licensed grower, or bulk cannabis items from any type of licensed cannabis business to one. other;
• Cannabis Retailer License, for locations where cannabis items and related supplies are sold to consumers;
• Cannabis Delivery License, for companies providing courier services for consumer purchases that are made by an authorized cannabis retailer to deliver the purchased items to a consumer; this service would include the ability of a consumer to make a purchase directly through the cannabis delivery service which would be presented by the delivery service for fulfillment by a retailer and then delivered to a consumer.
Manalapan officials have chosen does not issue any type of cannabis license. By law, they cannot prohibit the delivery of cannabis and / or cannabis supplies to addresses in Manalapan by a licensed delivery service in another municipality.
According to the ordinance, if Manalapan officials have not taken action by August 21, then “for a period of five years thereafter, cultivation, cultivation, manufacture, sale and resale cannabis and cannabis-based items will be permitted in all industrial zones. , and the retail sale of cannabis items to consumers must be conditional use in all commercial and retail areas.
“At the end of the initial period and any subsequent five-year period of failure to pass local regulations or bans, the municipality will again have 180 days to pass an ordinance regulating or banning cannabis businesses, but such an ordinance would only be prospective and would not apply to any cannabis company already operating in the municipality, ”says the ordinance.
Manalapan officials said they determined that “due to current uncertainties about the potential future impacts that licensing one or more categories of the cannabis trade could have on New Jersey municipalities in general, and on Manalapan in particular, it is currently necessary and appropriate, and in the best interests of the health, safety and welfare of the township and its residents, to amend the township zoning by-laws to prohibit all kinds of use and development of land related to marijuana within the geographic boundaries of the township.