ABERDEEN – The Township Council has adopted an ordinance that will amend Aberdeen Township’s Commerce and Transportation Center Redevelopment Plan and allow five types of cannabis businesses to operate in one area of the municipality.
New Jersey law permits six marketplace classes of licensed cannabis businesses: cultivator; manufacturer; wholesaler; distributor; retails sales; and delivery service for cannabis and/or cannabis related products.
Permitted conditional uses for cannabis businesses in the specified area in Aberdeen Township will be cultivators; manufacturers; wholesalers; distributors; and delivery services.
Cannabis retail shops will not be permitted to operate anywhere in the municipality.
Council members adopted the ordinance during a meeting on July 22.
During the public hearing that preceded the council’s vote to adopt the ordinance, resident Paul Rinear asked officials what the new law permits.
Councilman Greg Cannon said the ordinance “allows cannabis businesses other than retailers (to operate) in the (Aberdeen-Matawan) train station redevelopment area.”
The cannabis businesses that would be permitted to operate in the designated zone are not permitted to operate in other areas of the township.
Township Attorney Jonathan Williams said an individual or an entity could apply for a variance and seek municipal approval to operate a permitted cannabis business in an area of the township where the ordinance does not permit those businesses to operate.
Williams reiterated that retail adult use cannabis businesses are prohibited throughout Aberdeen Township.
The attorney said an individual who or an entity that wants to operate a permitted cannabis business “will have to apply for (approval) and go through the process of getting it approved on a project-by-project basis.”
Cannon said the council members did not want to issue a blanket prohibition on all cannabis businesses as officials in some other municipalities have done.
“We are opening the door; (we are) not banning (all cannabis businesses) or opting out and making this a dry town for five years like many towns are doing.
“(We are) allowing the less intrusive cannabis businesses, which are more industrial uses, and trying to wait for the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) to put out the rules about what the establishments are going to look like.
“We can pretty much (know) what it is going to look like in terms of warehousing, and when the CRC puts out the rules for (cannabis) retailers, we will probably take another look at this (issue),” Cannon said.
The councilman said the cannabis ordinance that was before the governing body on July 22 was the middle ground the council members came up with.
Resident Thomas Juliano asked the council members to consider permitting retail cannabis businesses as a way of generating revenue for the township.
Mayor Fred Tagliarini said the types of cannabis businesses that will now be permitted to operate in Aberdeen Township – other than retail operations, which are prohibited – will produce revenue for the municipality.