The members of the Hoboken City Council agreed on one thing in early 2022 — they needed more restrictions for new cannabis dispensaries opening in Hoboken.
In a meeting in March of 2022, they approved a limit on new dispensaries, saying only six could open in the mile-square city. The council also voted 8-1 (with Councilman Michael Russo being the outlier) that dispensaries couldn't open within 600 feet of a school — a difficult rule to meet, considering there are more than a dozen schools in one square mile.
The first recreational cannabis applicant to be approved for the city of Hoboken is now seeing that approval reversed for being too close to a school.
The community group Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis filed the successful challenge against the proposed dispensary, Blue Violets, owned by Lauren Chang Thompson and her husband Max.
John De Los Santos has a plan to open a new recreational cannabis dispensary in Paterson, his hometown; he was given conditional approval last year by state regulators for it. The only thing stopping him is city politics.
Paterson has a limit of three recreational cannabis dispensaries in the city and that quota has been filled. That leaves De Los Santos on the outside looking in, as he struggles to keep investors and a lease in place.
Dissent from residents and civic groups has led City Council to reconsider its intention of allowing cannabis sales in the city.
During its Thursday meeting, the City Council agreed it would not bring an ordinance that would have allowed cannabis sales in town up for a final vote.
That ordinance, which council had introduced on July 27 by a 5-2 vote, would have revised the municipal code to permit cannabis sales.
But strong community and business opposition to the ordinance convinced the council to change its mind.
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.
The Little Falls Township Council has introduced legislation to open the door to cannabis businesses, such as a dispensary, to operate within the Township. The Ordinance, which outlines the regulations and procedures for establishing and operating cannabis businesses in the area, has sparked a heated debate among residents and local officials.
In response to these concerns, Mayor James Damiano acknowledged the controversial nature of the proposal.
Rutherford could soon allow retail cannabis establishments, but with certain restrictions. The proposal stipulates that no retail cannabis setups would be permitted within the Park Avenue, Union Avenue business districts, or any areas west of Route 17. Only adults aged 21 and above would be able to purchase cannabis products, and sales would be subject to state and local municipal tax. The borough stands to gain two percent of all class 5 license sales, if this goes through.
Uncertainty fueled increased opposition to permitting cannabis businesses in Somers Point, but City Council voted 5-2 to take another step toward that goal July 27.
Before the vote, solicitor Tom Smith added language to the ordinance recommending the city issue no more conditional approvals than the number of licenses it wishes to issue, raising questions about whether the city would ultimately be able to choose who receives a license.
In the fall, the township supported a proposal to open a cannabis retail store in the Rio Grande section, at a long-vacant site where a diner once stood on Route 9. The township has backed the Massachusetts-based cannabis company Insa, which has plans for a retail location but so far has not been granted a state license.
In November, the township said no to allowing a second retail site, from C3 Middle Township LLC. At that time, Mayor Tim Donohue said he expected to see litigation filed in connection to that decision.
Daylite cannabis received approval for its annual retail license on June 1 from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission and its owner, Steve Cassidy, told 70and73.com in an interview that he expected to open by the end of June.
But the business' plans came to a screeching halt in June when Mount Laurel Township and its Police Department told Cassidy they did not approve of his security plan and that an armed security guard would be required.
At the time, there was no mention of the need for security guards in the Township cannabis ordinance.