HomeCranbury PressCranbury Planning Board approves cannabis opt-out ordinance

Cranbury Planning Board approves cannabis opt-out ordinance

An ordinance opting out of the all six business licenses for recreational cannabis in Cranbury has received approval from the township Planning Board.

At a Planning Board meeting on July 1, Chairman Peter Mavoides, Vice Chair Michael Kaiser, and Planning Board members, James Gallagher, Township Committeewoman Evelyn Spann, and Wayne Wittman voted “yes” on the proposed ordinance and determined the ordinance is consistent with the master plan.

Board member Judson Hamlin abstained from the vote.

The ordinance will now make its way back to the Township Committee for a public hearing on whether to adopt the ordinance. The public hearing is scheduled to occur at a Township Committee meeting on July 12.

“This does give the township the ability to bring in any of the six licenses if they choose to it just gives the municipality more control. By opting out out we can opt in to any license; by not opting out those licenses would be imposed on the municipality for a five-year period,”  Spann said at a July 1 Planning Board meeting. “My recommendation to the planning board would be to opt out because it is the most responsible thing the board can do right now.”

As part of the process, the board had to review the ordinance to determine if the ordinance was consistent with the master plan after its introduction at the Township Committee.

“Tying it back to the master plan, which general language is to encourage business and use in the commercial district, this would say we would have the control to manage that use and growth that we inherently want within the master plan,” Mavoides said. “This is consistent with the master plan in that it gives us the control to manage the growth and business uses that we want.”

Wittman agreed with Mavoides and said in the Master Plan, Cranbury has consistencies on what businesses go where.

“In other words, who wouldn’t want to locate a liquor store right next to a school or something like that. This is not consistent with setting up that criteria for those kinds of businesses coming in,” he said. “This was not available for when our Master Plan was written and certainly we would have taken those things in consideration at that point in time.”

The governing body must adopt an ordinance by the Aug. 21 deadline set by the state for municipalities.

If the Township Committee were not to pass an ordinance by Aug. 21, Cranbury Township would be automatically opted in to all of the six classes and be permitted uses in all of the zones of the municipality and also prohibited from passing such an ordinance for five years.

The township can opt in at any time after adopting an opt-out ordinance by the deadline.

Rules and regulations that would further describe and detail the licensing requirements have not been released yet and are anticipated on or around the Aug. 21 deadline.

There are six cannabis business licenses being awarded by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. The licenses are Class 1-cultivator (grower), Class 2-manufacturer (processor), Class 3-wholesaler, Class 4-distributor, Class 5-retailer and Class 6-delivery service.

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