The township took the first step toward banning businesses that sell, manufacture or distribute marijuana when council members introduced an ordinance prohibiting legal weed sales Tuesday night.
Council members voted 6 to 1 to introduce the measure, which would block marijuana businesses for a five-year period. Councilwoman Laurie Huryk voted against the ordinance, which is scheduled for a public hearing at 6 p.m. May 11.
"In its current form I do not believe it should be introduced," Huryk said of the cannabis ordinance.
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Council members said they proposed the ordinance because of the uncertainty surrounding the rollout of legalized marijuana. Municipalities have until August to pass an ordinance either prohibiting or otherwise setting up regulations for marijuana-related businesses.
Otherwise they will be grandfathered into existing retail and industrial zones. Council members said they felt they had to pass an ordinance in order to give Toms River more time to study the pros and cons of legal marijuana businesses.
"We are not prohibiting it permanently," Councilman Matt Lotano said. "We are just trying to get our ducks in a row."