Medical cannabis ordinances were discussed this week in Hoboken and Lacey, NJ to allow dispensaries within their city limits.
The clinical cannabis ordinance passed the Hoboken council unanimously. Council President Jen Giattino abstained from the vote. She lost the 2017 Mayoral race to incumbent Mayor Ravi Bhalla.
Progress in Hoboken
The medical cannabis ordinance in Hoboken expands and amends previous legislation to a Medical Cannabis Review Board and a 2 percent medical marijuana city tax. It also eliminates a previous rule preventing more than one dispensary per city zone. There could be more than one dispensary in Hoboken near their popular PATH station. This makes sense as Hoboken is an urban progressive community. The law limits it to three dispensaries in total.
“Demand is there. We should go forward with this. We’re going to have the review board to be able to regulate it, the planning board is going to be able to regulate it,” said Councilman Phil Cohen.
Compared to the actions of many previous town council meetings in New Jersey, this was a great victory.
Atlantic City is the only other municipality in New Jersey with more e than one dispensary in its limits. And CCF took MPx to court over it and out. A medical cannabis dispensary is about to open in Ewing in Mercer County. It’s not easy to get a town to approve a license. The rest of the dispensaries are far apart. Middle County and Union County both have two in different towns. There are none currently in Hudson, Somerset, Monmouth, Burlington, nor Ocean County.
Asbury Park, Trenton and Princeton will likely get one of the 24 licenses that were supposed to be announced from round last year. It is held up by a lawsuit that blames the NJ Department of Health (DOH) poorly administering the process to the point where companies could not properly apply.
Hoboken held their council meeting remotely while Lacey Committee met in person.
Medical Cannabis Ordinance Introduced in Lacey
A medical marijuana ordinance proposal was heard this week in Lacey Township in Ocean County to approve a medical marijuana (or medical cannabis) dispensary within the town.
There seemed to be a consensus in favor of medical cannabis and against recreational use by the committee.
A medical cannabis dispensary would be located in their business park.
Many sighted vague “public safety concerns” when justifying their opposition.
Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) attitudes were voiced by committee members, citing police concerns. Claimed public safety” concerns.”
They prefer it to be located elsewhere. A committee member said he did not want Lacey to be a “pot tourist destination”, claiming many from Colorado said this was bad, and that it would bring up “social issues.”
They said they were told in the past, that if one flips a switch and goes recreational, it would be like “opening pandora’s box”
The mayor of Lacey said they should wait to the state referendum on full legalization to act on recreational cannabis.
The committee had debated it earlier this year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.