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Morristown residents eagerly anticipating the official opening of the town's first cannabis dispensary were recently given an update on the time-consuming process.
The dispensary, which will be located on Ridgedale Avenue, will replace a defunct budget truck rental agency. The chosen location is on a busy route at the border of Morris Township, across from a former state motor vehicle inspection station, a bank, and a lumberyard.
A new marijuana dispensary in Morristown has recently received its final approval for construction from the Morristown Planning Board.
The business will be housed in a two-story building on Ridgedale Avenue, making it the town's first cannabis dispensary. The initial decision and plan presentation occurred last month, but the final approval came on March 23.
Uma Flowers won the recreational license from Morristown's council over five other applicants, including The Summit, based in Bridgewater, which proposed a dispensary at 65-66 Market Street.
Morristown’s first cannabis dispensary cleared a major hurdle Thursday, garnering a unanimous approval from the planning board for a new two-story building on Ridgedale Avenue that will house its operations.
The dispensary will replace a former Budget car rental office and an auto repair shop, on a lot owned by the principals of Morris Brick and Stone, which is next door.
Those principals, from the Goldberg family, received the planning board’s blessing to subdivide its property and erect the dispensary building, which they intend to lease to Uma Flowers.
Consider two towns in Middlesex County, New Brunswick and East Brunswick. In New Brunswick, more than three-quarters of residents voted in favor of legalization, the majority of the population is made up of minorities, and the median household income is below the state average, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In nearby East Brunswick, close to two-thirds of residents voted in favor of legalization, the population is white majority, and the median household income is above $100,000.
New Brunswick allows the sale of recreational marijuana; East Brunswick banned it.
Town officials received six applications for retail establishments but none for medicinal centers, according to Barrick. Here are the applicants and their proposed locations:
Tangerine Tree Dispensary LLC: 153 Morris St.
Uma Flowers: 102 Ridgedale Ave.
Atta AMFI: 77-79 Market St.
The Summit: 65-66 Market St.
Sweetspot: 64-66 Ridgedale Ave.
The Banc Street Collective: 51 Bank St.
Cannabis entrepreneurs can now apply for a retail or medical business license in Morristown.
Town officials will award licenses for two marijuana businesses in the downtown area under regulations approved in December. Applicants have until April 13 to submit their proposals to Morristown.
About 29% of municipalities in New Jersey now welcome some semblance of the cannabis industry, after 35 towns that had previously prohibited all classes of cannabis businesses have since passed ordinances allowing at least one type of licensed cannabis business to operate within their borders, according to a USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey analysis of municipal ordinances.
At the time of a state-mandated deadline in August, fewer than a quarter of municipalities had passed such ordinances.
Morristown set up a cannabis advisory board shortly after it passed an ordinance to allow marijuana businesses within its borders.
The five-member board includes the mayor, business administrator, chief of police, director of law and council designee. Officials said there is entrepreneurial interest in the town and are working on an application process.
"There have been lots of inquiries from a lot of potential cannabis entrepreneurs that are seeking to do business in Morristown," said Jillian Barrick, town administrator.
Prospective cannabis businesses now have a place in Morristown. Town Council passed an ordinance allowing zoning for up to two recreational and/or medical dispensaries in town, which would be limited to certain areas.
The regulations limit potential dispensaries to the Central Business District and zone MX-2 — Ridgedale and Madison Avenues, plus a portion of Martin Luther King Avenue. They also must be at least 1,000 feet from a grade school and 200 feet from houses of worship.
The Morristown Town Council will be voting on if marijuana dispensaries will be allowed in the town.
The ordinance the council members are voting on would allow for two dispensaries if it is approved. However, the dispensaries would only be allowed in two specific areas – Ridgedale and Madison avenues.
The locations could prove to be difficult for potential business owners. Ridgedale Avenue is not very long and holds businesses such as an Enterprise car rental, a Wells Fargo bank, a lumber yard and a car dealership.