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Pennington would restrict recreational cannabis with opt-in ordinance

The Pennington council has introduced an opt-in ordinance that would permit a combined total of three cannabis retailers and medical dispensaries to operate in two borough zones.

If ultimately adopted by the Borough Council, the opt-in ordinance will restrict additional class licenses for cannabis businesses in the borough.

With the introduction of the ordinance occurring at a June 7 Borough Council meeting, the Planning Board will now be the next body to review the ordinance and the zoning changes. If the Planning Board approves the ordinance it will return to the Borough Council for a public hearing.

Pennington’s ordinance leaves the business highway zone and the office business zone for cannabis retailers, cannabis delivery services, medical cannabis dispensaries. The mixed use one zoning district is for cannabis delivery services only.

The permitted combined total of three cannabis retailers and medical dispensaries in the business highway zone and the office business zone must have one place in one of the two zones reserved for a medical cannabis dispensary, according to the ordinance. If no medical dispensary applicant applies then only two applicants for recreational cannabis can be permitted, while one space is held open for a medical cannabis dispensary.

Prohibited uses in any zone of the borough include cannabis cultivators, cannabis manufacturers, cannabis wholesalers and cannabis distributors, medical cannabis cultivators, medical cannabis manufacturers and clinical registrants, according to the ordinance.

Additionally, all medical and regular cannabis enterprises are also prohibited from Town Center.

The borough regulations also include no more than 2,500 square feet of floor area for a recreation cannabis retailer or medical dispensary; controlled operating hours for a licensed retail facility (9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily); and the regulation that cannabis products cannot be visible from a public sidewalk, public street or right-of-way or any other public place.

A cannabis retailer or medical dispensary application would be required to have Borough Council support through a resolution indicating that the application complies with borough regulations.

New Jersey municipalities must pass an ordinance by Aug. 21.

If the Borough Council were not to pass an opt-in or opt-out ordinance by Aug. 21, Pennington would be automatically opted in to recreational cannabis class licenses, which would be permitted uses in zones of the municipality.

In the event of a failure to adopt an ordinance, Pennington also would then be prohibited from passing an ordinance for five years.

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