ALLENTOWN – On July 6, members of the public are expected to have a chance to voice their opinions on an ordinance that would, if adopted by the Allentown Borough Council, prohibit cannabis businesses from operating in the borough.
During a meeting on June 1, Borough Council President John A. Elder III, Councilman Rob Strovinsky, Councilman Michael Drennan, Councilwoman Martha Johnson, Councilman Dan Payson and Councilwoman Erica Torsiello voted “yes” on a motion to introduce the ordinance.
The public hearing on the ordinance was scheduled for July 6.
“We have worked on this ordinance with our professionals and it is what this entire council supports,” said Mayor Thomas Fritts, who does not vote on ordinances.
The ordinance will, if adopted by the council, amend Allentown’s municipal ordinances “to opt out of the New Jersey State Cannabis Law and to prohibit all consumption of cannabis in public places, and all underage possession of cannabis items, and to clarify that all cannabis cultivation facilities, manufacturers, wholesalers and retail establishments are prohibited uses within Allentown.”
In a November 2020 public question, residents of New Jersey voted to legalize adult use cannabis (also called recreational marijuana). In Monmouth County, 244,576 residents voted “yes” and 128,276 residents voted “no” on the legalization question.
In the wake of the referendum, state officials have taken steps to enact the cannabis legalization process.
Municipal officials now have the option to prohibit or to permit the production and sale of cannabis within their borders. They may not, by law, prohibit the delivery of cannabis products in the community.
The state statute relating to the legalization of cannabis businesses requires action to be taken by municipalities within 180 days of Feb. 22, 2021, which would be Aug. 21, 2021.
In other business on June 1, the council members passed a resolution authorizing Resource Management Group, LLC, to perform asbestos removal at the municipal annex building on Church Street at a cost of $28,500.
Municipal officials said more asbestos than the amount that was believed to be in the municipal annex was found during an inspection of the building.
In conjunction with that approval, the council passed a resolution authorizing Health and Safety Services to perform asbestos removal monitoring at the municipal annex building. The contract is in the amount of $15,350.
Finally, the council approved the renewal of a plenary retail distribution license to Allentown Wine and Liquors Inc. and the renewal of a plenary retail consumption license to DiMattia’s Inc. Each business paid a $2,500 fee for the renewal of its liquor license.