Cranbury Township to hold work session on new marijuana laws

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The Cranbury Township Committee will conduct a work session next week to discuss the municipality’s next steps regarding the new marijuana laws legalizing cannabis, which were signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in late February.

The Township Committee on March 22 is set go through the township options and begin discussions on whether they will opt-in or opt-out with an ordinance on any aspect of the legislation by Aug. 21. The legislation gives each municipality that option.

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There are six types of licenses the newly created Cannabis Regulatory Commission will issue. They are cultivator (grower), manufacturer (processor), wholesaler, distributor, retailer and delivery service.

Cranbury can choose which of the six licenses would be allowed, but cannot deny delivery services to come through town to residents.

To prohibit any of the licenses the township would have to pass an ordinance by Aug. 21. If the township fails to adopt an ordinance by then, cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors will automatically become permitted uses in all of the industrial zones of the township.

Additionally, the retail selling of cannabis would be a conditional use in the commercial or retail zones. This would occur only if the township did not choose to adopt an ordinance.

If the Township Committee chooses to adopt an ordinance the township would be able to designate where each could go and to a certain extent the hours of operation.

However, if the Township Committee fails to adopt an ordinance the municipality would then be prohibited from passing such an ordinance for five years. Cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors would be able to move into the municipality and would not be able to be banned for another five years.

According to the New Jersey State League of Municipalities (NJLM), once a municipality permits cannabis establishment or distributor operations in their community that action remains valid for five years, after which the municipality will receive another window of 180 days to prohibit or limit operations.

There are no limits to municipalities to when they can opt-in if they choose to opt-out by Aug. 21.

Cranbury Township is also allowed to adopt an ordinance that would impose a tax on the sale of cannabis and cannabis items. The maximum permissible tax for sales by cultivators, manufacturers and retailers is 2% and for cannabis wholesalers it is 1%.

According to NJLM, any delinquencies are treated the same as delinquent property taxes and the tax cannot apply to delivery services to consumers or transfers for the purpose of bulk transportation.

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