or to vote comment and more!
A Sussex County municipality is moving forward with local approvals for a retail cannabis shop, even as the state continues to lag on allowing any “legal weed” sales beyond expansions of medical dispensaries.
In Newton, an adult-use marijuana dispensary at 117 Water St. has gotten green lights from the Newton Township Council and Land Use Board, according to Town Manager Thomas Russo Jr., and also has also paid its municipal fee.
A marijuana growing and processing facility proposal for an existing building in town moved a step forward when members of the town's Planning Board said they were not against the concept.
Newton Agriculture, the company behind the proposal, will now move to invest in architectural and engineering studies as its next step, said its representatives.
The Newton Agriculture plan calls for growing and processing recreational-use marijuana in parts of the existing red brick building that takes up the corner of Mill and Clinton streets.
Sussex County’s legislative representatives recently commended the state and Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher for quick work on the rules allowing the production of hemp and hemp products in the new year.
Sen. Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths, all R-24th Dist., sponsored legislation, signed into law in August, paving the way for the production in the Garden State of industrial hemp, a strain of the cannabis sativa plant that is grown specifically for industrial uses.
The public got a first look Thursday at the plans a marijuana-growing operation proposed to replace most of the buildings at the old Schering-Plough complex on Route 94 and Morris Farm Road.
Less than 20 acres of the 132-acre site will be developed according to engineer Owen Dykstra. The first building to go up will be about 338,000 square feet, he said, with a second building of about 22,000 square feet, included in phase one of the planned project.
In recent times, growing and possessing hemp it has posed considerable controversy. But, in times past, growing hemp was not only encouraged, but at one point it appears that growing hemp may actually have been mandatory, at least in the early Colonial days, providing employment for many and income for farmers.
Since the 1930s, growing or using hemp has not only been frowned upon but viewed as illegal. As hemp appears to be a rather controversial topic, it might be interesting to review its past history.
The move, which follows a Sept. 12 advisory from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities on the direction of proposed marijuana legislation in Trenton, was introduced as a proposed ordinance on Sept. 13 and was unanimously ratified by the governing body on Thursday.
Wantage Mayor Bill Gaechter said that with momentum building in the state Legislature to have New Jersey become the ninth state to legalize recreational marijuana, township officials felt it advisable to act now rather than be caught flat-footed after the fact by whatever legislation emerges.
The proposed ordinance requires a second reading and vote to be adopted. Prior to a vote an ordinance is always open to comment from the public and the council members.
The next Sparta Township Council meeting is scheduled for October 9 at 7:30 p.m. at town hall.
Without comment and as part of a package of 10 otherwise routine resolutions, the Township Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution opposing the legalization of recreational marijuana by the state.
The council also introduced, again without comment and by a unanimous vote, an ordinance "prohibiting marijuana within all zones" in the township.
Ordinance 2018-11, a measure to "Prohibit the Retail/Wholesale Sale of Marijuana Products," would amend the township's zoning regulations to prohibit retail marijuana establishments engaged in the growing, cultivation or sale of marijuana as well as the manufacturing or testing of retail marijuana products.
Retail and wholesale activities involving the processing, storing, transporting, testing, labeling, delivery or distribution of marijuana products would also be prohibited.
The resolution passed Wednesday by a 3 to 2 vote, with Freeholder Deputy Director Sylvia Petillo and members Carl Lazzaro and Herb Yardley supporting the measure and Freeholder Director Jonathan Rose and member George Graham opposing it.
During a lengthy debate among the five-member board, issues such as marijuana's effects on the minds of users, especially young people, were mentioned repeatedly by those opposing legalization.