Should the Municipality of Princeton allow cannabis dispensaries in town?
That is one of the questions that a proposed municipal cannabis task force expects to study, Princeton Councilwoman Eve Niedergang said.
New Jersey voters approved the legalization of marijuana in November, but the State Legislature has not passed the enabling legislation that would provide specific details.
“Still, we know that legalization is coming, and whether we were personally in favor or against legalization, we must confront the issues that will be raised as a result of legalization,” she said.
That’s why Niedergang, along with Princeton Council President Leticia Fraga and Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros, would like to establish the task force to address the issues surrounding the legalization of marijuana as they affect the town.
The three Princeton Council members plan to sketch out guidelines to determine which groups or institutions should be represented on the cannabis task force “to ensure that all viewpoints are included,” Niedergang said.
The cannabis task force, which may include residents, will recommend whether Princeton should permit a cannabis dispensary, Niedergang said.
The cannabis task force also will tackle the educational component of marijuana use, she said. The educational message would be based on the “best data available and the most recent science” on the impact of marijuana use on minors, adults and senior citizens, she said.
Finally, the cannabis task force will work with the Princeton Police Department and the municipal prosecutor to “shape enforcement policy” regarding minors’ possession and use of marijuana, and adult use of the drug in public, Niedergang said.
Although the makeup of the task force has not been determined, Fraga suggested including a representative from the Princeton Board of Health and the Civil Rights Commission to add some perspective.
Princeton Councilman Dwaine Williams said the Princeton Municipal Alcohol and Drug Alliance plans to become heavily involved, since it is an issue that is with the group’s bailiwick (jurisdiction).
A representative from the Princeton Senior Resource Center also may sit on the task force, Niedergang said.
“We really want to cast a broad net. We want to get a wide diversion of opinion. There is no forgone conclusion. We will look at the facts and the data and then move forward,” Niedergang said.
Mayor Mark Freda advised anyone who is interested in the task force to contact Niedergang, Fraga or Lambros.