Bayonne has taken the lead in establishing adult-use cannabis regulations while many other towns debate, and others come out against allowing sales.
The Council had sought the ordinance since before legalization was signed into law on February 22nd at their meetings in February and January. They were waiting for Murphy to sign legalization into law.
The law, which passed unanimously, allows two retailers, one processing facility, and one cultivation facility in Bayonne.
“We think that’s plenty, especially for something so new,” City Council President Sharon Nadrowski said. “It’s always easier to increase something than to take it away, so I think we’re just erring on the side of caution.”
The city also established a thorough licensing process and a two percent tax that Sativa Cross members argued against it. Bayonne’s law created application fees and annual fees for different cannabis businesses that cost several thousand dollars.
The law also has qualifications for obtaining permission, such as experience in the cannabis industry, experience with security, commitment to fair wages, diversity in ownership and hiring, and Bayonne residency.
Jersey City and Hoboken are very cannabis-friendly places, while Weehawken, Secaucus, and Union City will not allow adult-use cannabis. State Senator Brian Stack, who serves as Mayor of Union City, voted for cannabis reform in committee. Secaucus is the site of the Harmony dispensary.
Other Towns Consider Cannabis
Many towns in New Jersey are deciding whether or not they want a cannabis dispensary in their town. They have until August to decide whether they want to ban adult-use cannabis sales within their limits.
Paramus in Bergen County has become the latest town to consider whether or not to allow an adult-use dispensary. While they had approved medical dispensaries such as the newly opened Rise, they had not considered adult-use before. They were considering not allowing adult-use in January.
“This could be a huge windfall for us,” Mayor Richard LaBarbiera said regarding the potential tax revenue. He said they could see $1 million a year in revenue. LaBarbiera argued that they are a major retail hub with their mall and that people could go to the dispensary.
Raritan Borough in Somerset County is also considering whether or not to allow an adult-use cannabis dispensary to open within their town.
Sarah Trent who launched a cannabis college course applied for a medical dispensary within the town in the 2019 license round, which insiders say will be announced “any day now” since the lawsuit that held it up was resolved in favor of the NJ Department of Health.
“At this point, that’s binding us to her and the result of her application,” said Mayor Zachary Bray. “If we are going to do it, I’d like it to start with this woman and her company.”
He said that the Raritan Mall might make a good location for a dispensary.
“Provided that it’s in the right area, away from our parks, away from the main drag and the hustle and bustle, I think it’s something that could provide a benefit to the town,” Bray said.
“We are going to do our due diligence and make sure if and when it goes, it’s going in the right spot for our town,” he added.
Smaller, more conservative towns are inclined to loudly say “No” to cannabis, while larger, more progressive towns that are centers of commerce and nightlife are more inclined to examine the issue.
Those in between have been eyeing dispensaries and the benefits the law will bring them.
However, many small, unimportant towns are considering banning sales within their town. They have been much more vocal in their opposition than those who are cautiously considering it. Police chiefs have especially taken to criticizing cannabis.
Gloucester Township recently banned public consumption of adult-use cannabis. They also banned the consumption of tobacco products in public.
New Jersey has 566 towns, more than the number of towns in California. Some of them were bound to ban cannabis.