Cannabis attorney Michael McQueeny of Foley Hoag LLP said it’s a critical problem he has discussed with mayors who opted out of allowing legal marijuana sales, which account for perhaps two-thirds of all the municipalities in the state.
“And I’ve always counseled them: Realize, when you opt out, even without an exception for micro-business licenses, all you’re doing is penalizing your citizens, your very citizens who may have voted 67% or more in favor of something,” McQueeny said.
As of two weeks ago, at least 63% of municipalities in New Jersey had opted out. Some said they could change their minds. Among places for which the League of Municipalities knew their marijuana status, 80% had opted out.
The state’s rules don’t put a limit on the microbusinesses but say they can’t have more than 2,500 square feet of space or more than 10 employees.
Rob Mejia, an adjunct professor of cannabis studies at Stockton University, said many people are excited about the micro-licenses – and should be, because it gives small operators a chance to get established. But he said so many places have opted out that for some it’s impossible.
“If you are doing a microbusiness or you’d like to have a microbusiness license, you have to be a resident of your township or of an adjoining township,” Mejia said. “But where I’m located, there is no micro-license open to me, for example.”