Legalized cannabis is here to stay in New Jersey, but Westfield residents who participated in a virtual meeting held by the town’s cannabis commission last Thursday overwhelming opposed the prospect of the municipality allowing the licensing of recreational cannabis dispensaries.
“It’s a basic decision. Under the law, municipalities have 180 days, and that’s until August 21 this year, to either prohibit outright, or limit the number of establishments, distributors or delivery services,” said Councilman Mark Parmelee.
The Westfield Cannabis Commission is charged with delivering to Mayor Shelley Brindle and the town council a recommendation either in support of or opposition to allowing recreational cannabis establishments. The commission includes Councilmen Parmelee and Michael Dardia, as well as the police chief and the fire chief, town officials and selected residents.
If the municipality passes an ordinance authorizing the potential licensing of recreational cannabis establishments, the decision will take effect for five years, explained Councilman Parmelee.
If the governing body opts in, it will be responsible for creating civil penalties for violations of an opt-in ordinance — and controlling where and what kind of recreational dispensaries are allowed. Licenses include allowing retail dispensaries, cultivator and wholesale licenses and even a delivery-service license.
“The recent legalization of marijuana in New Jersey raises many questions for every community about if and how it plans to move forward with regard to dispensaries on the local level,” according to the Westfield Cannabis Commission website.