East Brunswick council adopts ordinance prohibiting recreational marijuana businesses


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EAST BRUNSWICK–With an unanimous vote, the Township Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting the operation of any recreational cannabis establishments within the municipality of East Brunswick.

To further clarify the purpose of the ordinance, township attorney Michael Baker said two weeks ago the council voted not to allow the sale, distribution, retail, wholesale or growing of marijuana in the township. The purpose of this ordinance is for the council to deliver a second and final vote to allow recreational marijuana business within the township.

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Baker said the medical marijuana dispensaries have been permitted in the township for several years and this ordinance will continue to allow medical marijuana dispensaries.

More than 21 residents attended the council meeting, where the council approved and adopted an ordinance prohibiting the operation of any recreational cannabis businesses within the township on July 12 in-person at the municipal building.

Before the ordinance was voted on, Republican council candidate David Herrera said despite the council having this ordinance to prohibit recreational marijuana businesses within the township, he is not looking at right now, but he is looking down the road.

“I believe the road you’re going down, despite the fact that I do believe we will continuously create causalities through addiction, not necessarily through marijuana, but by ignoring it and making it more normalized and making it accessible,” Herrera said. “I think what we are doing right now will be the death of East Brunswick as we know it. … I do believe that recreational marijuana is OK and I do believe medicinal marijuana is OK; my concern is what are we doing here in our town.”

Herrera said his concern is that the township has other issues, and it seems to him that the governing body is focusing on something that he does not think will be for the betterment of East Brunswick.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) representative and Piscataway resident Jonathan Powers said the union represents 8 million workers across the country including cannabis employees.

“The UFCW opposes the ban for recreational adult marijuana use. It’s going to cost the township more of those good-paying union jobs that I am now trying to promote,” Powers said. “I’d like to suggest that the township look at the City of Bayonne’s ordinance, it’s a merit-based system that looks at standards which include security, research, labor, environment, as well as, local ownership. … The council has the absolute power to decide how the cannabis industry can and will run in East Brunswick. I hope you think twice about banning it.”

Powers also extended an invitation for members of the governing body to take a tour at one of the union’s closest unionized cannabis facilities, Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge.

“The council does not take this up before the middle of August, then for five years the township will not be able to prevent that from happening, that’s a state statute,” Baker said. “So the council has to take action on it at this time and they are, like I said earlier, prohibiting it. The medical marijuana ordinance was passed … two years ago, it was actually a bi-partisan ordinance at the time. We still don’t have any facilities that are looking to sell it here in town but it has been in place for two years.”

For more information, visit www.eastbrunswick.org/AgendaCenter.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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