Hopewell Township will consider allowing the manufacturing and cultivation of recreational cannabis

An ordinance that would allow the manufacturing and cultivation of recreational cannabis within Hopewell Township will have a public hearing when the Hopewell Township Committee reconvenes on Sept. 13.

Hopewell Township would allow two of the six business class licenses if the ordinance were to be adopted at the meeting.

The ordinance was determined to be consistent with the township’s Master Plan by the Planning Board on Aug. 24.

In August, prior to the state deadline for municipalities on whether they would opt in or opt out of any business class licenses for recreational cannabis, the Township Committee adopted an ordinance prohibiting all six cannabis business class licenses.

Members of the Township Committee adopted the ordinance on Aug. 16 to make sure that the township met the state deadline of Aug. 21. Even though the township opted out, the municipality can opt in at any point to allow any of the class licenses after having met the deadline.

In the ordinance, cannabis cultivation and manufacturing would be conditional uses in the VRC Zone. The conditions include that the lot be at least 50 acres in size, located no more than two miles from the interstate interchange, and have a maximum lot coverage of 15%.

Any potential applicant seeking a resolution of local support would submit a concept plan to the Township Committee for their review and explain how the applicant would comply with the township zoning, site plan and licensing requirements, according to ordinance.

The Township Committee would consider the proposals in the order they are submitted.

A cannabis business cannot operate in the township without a state permit or license and oversight by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, as well as oversight and the issued license by Hopewell Township.

For local licensing, the applicant would have to submit site plan approval from the Planning Board, comply with all the elements of its concept plan and other township ordinances, and pay required fees.

Each local license would be annually renewed and have a renewal fee.

Hopewell Township will also have a $5,000 application fee for a cannabis cultivator or manufacturers license. The annual registration fee would be $5,000, according to the ordinance.

Additionally, hours of operation for cultivators and manufacturers will be limited to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For the tax portion of cannabis, Hopewell Township’s ordinance can tax up to 2% for sales by cultivators and manufacturers. The 2% tax is the maximum permissible tax.