The Paterson City Council had a heated session before rejecting several proposed changes to local cannabis business rules on Tuesday.
Among the changes proposed was an increase from the currently allowable maximum of three retail cannabis outlets within the City of Paterson to six, reducing the distance between cannabis businesses from schools and places of worship from 300 feet to 200 feet, and the surcharge the city would collect on future cannabis sales.
While some, like Councilman-at-Large Md Forrid Uddin, were hesitant to increase licenses due to potential impacts, others expressed concerns about transparency and proper oversight.
"What concerns me most is that we greenlit three licenses in our previous meeting," Council President Alex Mendez said. "Three gentlemen came before the council, one of them a long-standing figure in Paterson, creating over 200 positions, possibly close to 500. We had conversations with these individuals, which brings me to a more pressing issue. The administration seems to have more licenses in the pipeline that we're unaware of. Are we giving them a blank check now, expecting guaranteed licenses? This raises questions about our due diligence. Unfortunately, at this moment, I can't endorse this situation. It's a complicated mess, and I'm sorry, but I can't put my name on it. I want to reiterate, I fully support generating more revenue for our city through the cannabis industry. However, I cannot endorse a situation that lacks transparency and proper oversight."