Lacey Township Mayor Peter Curatolo doesn’t want his town to become a pot pit-stop when recreational dispensaries start opening up around New Jersey later this year.
Although 64 percent of Lacey’s residents voted last year to legalize recreational marijuana across the Garden State, many do not approve of its sale or cultivation in their community, leading the Ocean County township to opt out of allowing shops and other cannabis-related businesses to operate there in the near future, Curatolo says. “If we had chosen to opt in, our Parkway exit would be a pot destination,” he says. “I don’t badmouth the product or the people who grow it, but it’s best sold somewhere else. My job as mayor is to look out for the health and safety of our town.”
Nearly 71 percent of New Jersey communities—or about 400 towns—will not allow cannabis businesses in their municipalities, according to a USA Today Network analysis of marijuana ordinances, with some mayors saying they will take a wait-and-see approach as operations begin in the coming months.