Mayor Colleen Mahr told this week’s work meeting of the Borough Council that discussions will begin on whether to allow the licensing of cannabis in the Borough.
When the recreational sale of cannabis to adults in New Jersey became legal in 2021, municipalities were given six months to either opt in or out. If municipalities did not act within those six months, any class of cannabis establishment or distributor would have been permitted to operate in the municipality and, depending on the type of establishment, be considered a permitted use in certain zones.
The Fanwood Borough Council has introduced an ordinance to opt out of the new state law legalizing recreational marijuana use.
The legislation, signed earlier this year by Gov. Phil Murphy, allows municipalities to opt out by ordinance in order to create their own rules. Otherwise, cannabis would automatically be permitted within their borders by regulations set by the state for a period of five years. By opting out now, the Borough can decide at a later time to create the conditions for selling, growing, distributing and using marijuana legally.
A full legalization bill in the works in the state legislature will not receive the support of at least two mayors if the final legislation doesn’t provide for the expungements of possession and distribution of up to 50 grams of cannabis, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (D) said.
Baraka and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop (D) said at a press conference that they would exercise their municipal authority and ban dispensaries from operating in their cities if they aren’t satisfied with expungement language in legalization legislation.