South River council introduces ordinance setting regulations for potential cannabis businesses

SOUTH RIVER–The Borough Council introduced an ordinance, which if adopted, will amend the municipal code setting regulations for marijuana establishments within South River.

On Feb. 22, Gov. Phil Murphy signed adult-use cannabis reform bills into law, legalizing and regulating cannabis use and possession for adults 21 years and older and decriminalizing marijuana and hashish possession.

Due to this action, municipalities have 180 days, or until Aug. 21, to take action to either prohibit or limit the number of cannabis establishments, distributors or delivery services; the location, manner and times of operation; and establishing civil penalties for violation of ordinances, according to the New Jersey State League of Municipalities (NJLM).

Business Administrator Art Londensky said by law the council has 180 days to take action to either allow or deny certain uses such as manufacturing, wholesale and retail. If no action is taken then it would be automatically allowed.

Licensed cannabis facilities are facilities that are licensed by the state under the N.J. Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act and /or its successors, operating within the scope of any of the following uses will be defined as a licensed cannabis facility(ies):

  • licensed growing, cultivating, or production of cannabis including the sale and/or ancillary transport of cannabis to other cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers or off-site retailers;
  • licensed manufacturing of cannabis, including purchase and resale of finished or semi-finished cannabis, the preparation and packaging of cannabis products, and also including the sale and/or ancillary transport of cannabis to other manufacturers, wholesalers, or off-site retailers;
  • licensed wholesale purchase, processing, storage, packaging, re-packaging and sale of cannabis to off-site retailers;
  • licensed cannabis distributors, engaged in bulk transportation from cultivator to cultivator or from licensed establishment to licensed establishment.

The council introduced an ordinance to establish regulations for marijuana establishments within the borough on May 24 during the council meeting via video conference. The second and final reading is scheduled for July 12.

When an application for development has been submitted to the borough for a proposed licensed cannabis facility, which has a license application pending with the state, the borough will condition all development approval(s) upon obtaining said license(s), according to the council.

No occupancy may occur nor may any licensed cannabis facility begin operation until all required licenses for such use are obtained from the state and from the borough, according to the council.

A licensed cannabis facility will only be a permitted use in the following non-residential districts:

  • B-1 local business districts
  • B-2 general business district
  • Light Industrial (LI) district
  • Waterfront Revitalization (WR) District

The borough clerk will send a copy of the ordinance to the township and county planning boards for review and comment in accordance with state law.

This ordinance will take effect after the second reading and publication as required by law, according to the council.

For more information, visit www.southrivernj.org/agendas/council/.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.