Hopewell Township Committee members are allowing the business operations of cannabis cultivators and manufacturers within the township’s Valley Resource Conservation (VRC) district.
The decision came after months of discussions and public hearing on Sept. 13, which had more than 100 attendees at the virtual Township Committee meeting. Members of the Township Committee adopted an ordinance permitting the operation of Class 1 Cultivation and Class 2 Manufacturing businesses in the VRC zone on Sept. 13.
Mayor Julie Blake, Deputy Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning, Committeewoman Kristin McLaughlin, Committeeman Kevin Kuchinski, and Committeeman Michael Ruger voted “yes” on adopting the ordinance.
Blake, at the meeting, said the Township Committee at a later date would address microbusiness licenses because there is no time limit for those particular licenses.
Cultivation and manufacturing would be conditional uses within the VRC zone. Those potential businesses would only be considered by the township if they are on lots at least 50 acres in size, located no more than two miles from the interstate interchange, located on a state or county road and have a maximum lot coverage of 15%.
Only one cannabis business will be allowed. According to the ordinance, a single entity that holds both a cannabis cultivation license and manufacturing license will be allowed as long as both are on the same site.
Additionally, hours of operation for cultivators and manufacturers will be limited from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cannabis wholesalers, distributors, retailers and delivery services businesses will not be allowed in any zone with Hopewell Township. However, the delivery of cannabis and cannabis related supplies into the township will be able to occur.
A cannabis cultivation and manufacturing 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 receive 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.
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 cultivation business and a manufacturing business must prevent any odor inside the building from emanating outside to business property line. They would need to have air treatment system to mitigate the odor and odor absorbing filtration systems to eliminate the odor.
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.
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.
The township has established a local cannabis transfer tax fixed at 2% for cultivators and manufacturers.