East Brunswick council seeks to limit locations for new vape shops

EAST BRUNSWICK – The East Brunswick Township Council has introduced an ordinance which will, upon adoption, amend the municipal code and add location restrictions for new vape shops and/or medical marijuana facilities.

An electronic smoking device is an electronic or other powered device that can be used to deliver nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, cigar, cigarillo or pipe, according to the council.

Retail electronic smoking device establishments are any establishment that sells or offers for sale electronic smoking devices and/or products designed for consumption through inhalation, according to the council.

Councilman Michael Spadafino asked how the ordinance would affect existing vape shops.

Township Attorney Michael Baker said, “It will not affect existing businesses; existing businesses will remain a pre-existing, non-conforming use. The only impact would be that any new vape shops or any new medical marijuana shops would have to be in the Edgeboro Road or Harts Lane area.”

The council introduced the ordinance on Jan. 27. A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for the council’s Feb. 10 meeting.

If the ordinance is adopted, it will add a new section to the municipal code restricting where new retail electronic smoking device and medical marijuana establishments can open.

“The genesis of this was that [Councilman Kevin McEvoy] asked a while ago, ‘Could we ban the sales?’ and I gave the opinion that you can’t [ban the sales] and the mayor spoke and there was some back and forth. … We thought about if we can’t ban vape stores, can we locate them in a narrower area that would be more appropriate. That is what this [ordinance] attempts to do, but existing businesses will not be impacted,” Baker said.

No place designated as a retail electronic smoking device establishment and no place that sells electronic smoking devices will be permitted to be located within 500 feet of a resident or residential zone and within 1,000 feet of a public school, according to the council.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.