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Tinton Falls Borough Council takes steps to prohibit cannabis businesses

TINTON FALLS – Borough Council members are taking action to prohibit the operation of marijuana businesses in Tinton Falls while guidance from the state is pending.

On June 15, the council introduced an ordinance that will, if adopted, prohibit all marijuana businesses from operating in the borough.

The ordinance states that municipal officials intend to lift the prohibition when they receive regulatory guidance from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission that they deem adequate.

A public hearing on the ordinance has been scheduled for the council’s July 13 meeting. The governing body may adopt the ordinance that evening.

The Borough Council’s action follows the enactment of 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 by 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 the Tinton Falls 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 municipal officials to prohibit the operation of marijuana businesses within the town’s borders. The prohibition must be adopted by Aug. 21, otherwise, marijuana businesses will be permitted in the municipality for a five-year period.

According to the ordinance, the Borough Council is prohibiting the cannabis businesses due to uncertainties governing the licensing process at the state and local levels, and a limited amount of time permitted to establish appropriate zoning regulations for a new class of commercial uses of property in Tinton Falls.

Therefore, the council believes it is in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of residents to await the adoption of regulatory guidance from the new Cannabis Regulatory Commission before permitting such businesses, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance states that the governing body wishes to establish land use regulations and licensing standards for regulated cannabis businesses in Tinton Falls upon receipt of the adequate regulatory guidance, which is anticipated later this year.

As noted in the ordinance, the council’s proposed action does not affect the legality of adult use marijuana by individuals over the age of 21 in Tinton Falls.

By law, the council may not prohibit the delivery of cannabis and/or cannabis supplies to addresses in Tinton Falls from a delivery service that is based in another municipality.

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