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On June 20, Councilman Keith Vreeland suggested putting a referendum on the ballot in the general election to get residents’ opinions on a cannabis dispensary in town. On July 17, Vreeland moved a resolution with a clear ballot question.
“Shall the Borough of Tuckerton permit recreational cannabis operations and retail distribution within the Borough?” Vreeland read.
Vreeland motioned to adopt the referendum. Councilman Brian Martin voted “yes,” while remaining council members voted “no.” The resolution did not pass.
—Are other Shore towns OK with weed?
Technically, no. Or at least, no other Shore town has a legal cannabis dispensary — medicinal or adult-use. Each of the more than 500 New Jersey municipalities is allowed to opt in or out of cannabis businesses operating in their town. Most towns south of Atlantic City have opted out of adult-use cannabis.
City Council has been passing around the idea of allowing marijuana sales for years but could never get any data on anticipated tax revenue.
City resident Max Slusher, a member of the Economic Development Advisory Commission, finally delivered that data during a presentation March 23.
But there’s also bad news: when it comes to ensuring equity in the growing cannabis market in New Jersey, the gap is wide between promises made and promises delivered. A key policy goal touted by the state has been its commitment to creating a cannabis industry that benefits communities that have historically faced the disproportionate brunt of the war on drugs — mainly low income Black and Latino communities.
Some, in fact, argue the supply crunch has arrived. Industry officials have already reported long lines at dispensaries and low supplies of concentrate-infused products.
“At this point, New Jersey has been rapidly depleted, and I dont see a whole lot of other grows,” said Steve Schain, a New Jersey-based cannabis attorney with Smart Counsel.
“Opening a dispensary is one thing, but opening a grow is quite another, which is what we need to have.”
When weed was made legal here in New Jersey, one of the tenets of the confusing law is that towns were given the option to decide if they wanted to ban dispensaries within their borders. And they had a deadline in which to do so.
Princeton, which prides itself on being open-minded and progressive tried to be one of those towns that was going to allow a dispensary. But in the end, like a lot of towns in New Jersey with the “not in my backyard” mentality, Princeton reversed course last week.
Hopewell Borough Council has killed an ordinance that would have allowed cannabis retailers and delivery service operations in the borough.
Council members voted to kill the ordinance that would have allowed cannabis retailers and delivery service operations in the service zone and only cannabis retailers in the B-R zone (business zone), during a public hearing at the governing body’s May 5 meeting.
Council President Sky Morehouse, Councilman Ryan Kennedy, Councilwoman Debra Stuhler, Councilman Chris Fossel, and Councilwoman Samara McAuliffe voted “yes” on the measure.
Twenty-two municipalities that had previously opted out of hosting any form of adult-use cannabis business now allow dispensaries, the news outlet reported, while three other towns that had initially allowed other types of businesses—but not retailers—have since passed ordinances to allow adult-use cannabis retail.
In addition, 10 municipalities that previously banned all types of adult-use cannabis operations have since decided to host other forms of cannabis businesses, but not dispensaries, app.com reported.
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.
Hundreds of municipalities across New York have banned recreational cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption businesses from opening within their communities, according to data released by the state’s Office of Cannabis Management.
The data show at least 34 percent of New York’s 1,528 cities, villages and towns passed a local cannabis opt-out law prior to Dec. 31, the deadline to do so.
To see which locales have opted out, check out the map below.