SAYREVILLE – Borough Council members have taken action to prohibit the operation of marijuana businesses and facilities in Sayreville.
On June 14, council members adopted an ordinance that prohibits all marijuana establishments, distributors and delivery services from operating in Sayreville, as well as alternative treatment centers that dispense medical marijuana/cannabis products.
To enact the prohibition, the ordinance amends the municipal code to add cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, delivery services and alternative treatment centers as prohibited uses.
The delivery of cannabis items and related supplies to Sayreville addresses by a delivery service that is based outside the borough will be permitted.
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 Sayreville’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.
After the ordinance was adopted, resident Aubrey Navarro questioned why the ordinance prohibited medical marijuana facilities.
“I don’t care about recreational marijuana or Sayreville’s stance on it, I am only concerned about medical,” Navarro said. “I understand there’s a hesitation because towns don’t know what the regulations are coming from legalization, but I want to urge the council to reconsider including medical and I don’t understand why medical would be included in the ban. The people who would be going there are veterans, people with seizures, people with Crohn’s [disease], people with cancer. They’re not bothering anyone.
“I think [the prohibition] is unnecessary,” she continued. “There are a clear set of regulations that the [New Jersey] Department of Health has for towns, whether they will or will not allow medical marijuana to come to their town. It’s not like recreational where we don’t know what is happening because we don’t have regulations about it yet.”
Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick stated that the council supported medical marijuana facilities and was preparing to permit them in Sayreville.
“We want to [support medical marijuana facilities] the right way,” the mayor said. “While they’re currently included in what we did, please know that it is really out of the abundance of caution and gives us the opportunity to actually do it right. With the help of our attorney, [Michael] DuPont, I think you will be happy with the decisions that the council ultimately makes.”