But Waretown amended the laws in August to allow for recreational sales at Bloc, saying the additional two percent revenue the township would get from adult use would help keep tax increases lower as costs rise across the board.
"Without this additional funding there would be a substantial increase in the municipal tax rate," Committeeman Ben LoPoro said at the time.
Local police spoke with South Toms River police, home of the county's first recreational marijuana business, and learned that they had no issues since its opening.
The first dispensary for sales of recreational marijuana opened in Ocean County Friday. Before the Social Leaf Dispensary opened in South Toms River, customers would have to travel long distances to access recreational products.
Last week also saw the opening for medical marijuana sales of the Bloc Dispensary in Waretown, Ocean County.
The Lakehurst Borough Council unanimously approved the three businesses — a manufacturer license and two retail licenses — at its Sept. 15 council meeting.
It approved Life Extracts LLC for a Class 2 cannabis manufacturer license for an operation that will be in the light industrial zone. The retail licenses were approves for Stoke Industries LLC to be located at 112 Center St. and for C3 Lakehurst LLC at 145 Route 70, former Burger King property.
Four types of licenses will be available withing the municipality if the ordinance is approved. A Class 1 License is for Cannabis Cultivation; Class 2, Cannabis Manufacturing, Class 3, Cannabis Wholesale; and Class 4, Cannabis Distribution. A separate license covers medical dispensaries.
LoParo pointed out that the ordinance excludes the retail sale of recreational marijuana even though 57 percent of the municipality’s voters were in favor of the legalization of adult recreational cannabis use.
What makes the Township of Ocean (Waretown) unique is the municipality already has a medical marijuana dispensary in the process of setting up shop.
As far back as last summer, authorities revealed that a company named Justice Cannabis Co. planned to provide access to medical marijuana patients in a standalone building. The dispensary will face Route 9 behind the empty building formerly occupied by Ocean First Bank in the Waretown ShopRite Plaza.
As it now stands, there are no medical marijuana dispensaries in Ocean County. Many patients travel as far as Bellmawr, Eatontown and Egg Harbor City to fulfill their prescriptions.
Justice Cannabis Co. – formerly known as Justice Grown, a Las Vegas company, established its presence in New Jersey after receiving state licensing approval in December 2019. The company operates a marijuana cultivation facility in Ewing.
A medical marijuana dispensary could bring some additional tax revenue into Ocean Township some time in the future. No one has come forward with plans to set up shop just yet – but the business opportunity exists. The township committee approved a zoning ordinance change on Tuesday that permits legal medical marijuana sales in the C-1 general commercial district.
The Township Council this week introduced an ordinance that would allow for dispensaries to operate along the Route 9 corridor, one of the only towns in Ocean County to formally endorse medical marijuana.
"It's not that we have somebody who is interested in opening a dispensary. We're just allowing it to happen," Mayor Ken Baulderstone said in an interview. "We have residents whose doctors have given them prescriptions for medical marijuana, and it makes a lot more sense for them to go to a dispensary near where they live."