In an effort to buy extra time, the City Council is moving to ban all recreational marijuana businesses from Paterson, despite Mayor Andre Sayegh’s support for an initiative he says could produce $1.5 million in annual fees.
In an 8-0 vote late Wednesday night, the council gave preliminary approval to opting out of the state’s recreational cannabis program. Sayegh’s plan would have allowed as many as 36 businesses to cultivate, manufacture, sell and deliver the marijuana.
“I think the whole city is going to smell like marijuana,” said Councilman Shahin Khalique, who has opposed the marijuana business plan ever since it was proposed.
Other members of the council have made it clear that they eventually would like to strike some sort of compromise to allow some types of cannabis businesses in Paterson — and to reap the revenue those enterprises would generate in license fees and taxes — but only if they are strongly regulated.
“The black market is here and we are getting nothing from it,” said Council President Marita Davila, asserting that Paterson eventually should enact a city law permitting businesses.