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Englishtown council members seek to ban marijuana businesses in borough

ENGLISHTOWN – Borough Council members are taking action to prohibit the operation of marijuana businesses in Englishtown.

On June 23, council members introduced an ordinance that will, if adopted, prohibit all marijuana establishments, distributors and delivery services from operating in Englishtown.

The delivery of cannabis items and related supplies to Englishtown addresses by a delivery service that is based outside the borough will be permitted.

The ordinance will amend the municipal code to add cannabis establishments, distributors and delivery services as prohibited uses.

A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for July 28. Residents and other interested parties may comment on the proposed ordinance at that time. The council may adopt the ordinance that evening.

The council’s action follows the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act, also known as A-21, which was passed by state legislators in February after New Jersey voters in 2020 approved a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana.

The legislation legalizes the recreational use (also known as adult use) of marijuana for certain adults, subject to state regulation; it decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana and hashish (a marijuana concentrate); and it removes marijuana as a Schedule I (high potential for abuse) drug.

According to Englishtown’s ordinance, A-21 established six marketplace classes of licensed marijuana businesses: cultivator, manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer and delivery.

As noted in the ordinance, the state legislation allows municipalities to prohibit the operation of marijuana businesses within their borders. The prohibition must be adopted by Aug. 22, otherwise, marijuana businesses will be permitted in the municipality for a five-year period.

Municipal officials were quoted in the proposed ordinance as stating that “the mayor and council … has determined that, due to present uncertainties regarding the potential future impacts that allowing one or more classes of cannabis business might have on New Jersey municipalities in general, and on Englishtown in particular, it is at this time necessary and appropriate, and in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of Englishtown’s residents and members of the public who visit, travel or conduct business in Englishtown, to amend Englishtown’s zoning regulations to prohibit all manner of marijuana related land use and development within the geographic boundaries of Englishtown.”

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