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Ordinance proposes locations for cannabis businesses in Tinton Falls

TINTON FALLS – Borough Council members are taking action to lift a prohibition on cannabis businesses in Tinton Falls by establishing regulations for cannabis businesses that may eventually be permitted to operate in the municipality.

During a meeting on Nov. 9, council members introduced an ordinance that will, if adopted, establish the locations where cannabis businesses will be permitted to operate and the standards by which the operators of cannabis businesses may receive a license.

A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for the council’s Dec. 7 meeting. The council members 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; 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 ordinance, A-21 established six marketplace classes of licensed marijuana businesses: cultivator, manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer and delivery.

After A-21 was enacted, officials in New Jersey’s municipalities were given until Aug. 21 to establish their own regulations for cannabis businesses or to prohibit the operation of cannabis businesses within their borders. If neither action was taken, cannabis businesses would be permitted in a municipality for a five-year period under state regulations.

The members of Tinton Falls’ governing body adopted an ordinance in July prohibiting all six types of cannabis businesses.

However, the ordinance stated that municipal officials intended to lift the prohibition on cannabis businesses upon receiving regulatory guidance from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission that they deemed adequate.

The proposed ordinance states that the Borough Council has determined the cultivation, manufacture, wholesaling and distribution of cannabis, as well as its retail sale, present special concerns and should be permitted in appropriate locations and regulated to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents.

Under the terms of the proposed ordinance, cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers will only be permitted to operate in locations south of Pinebrook Road. The businesses will only be permitted uses in the MFG manufacturing zone, the MFG-2 manufacturing zone and the Industrial Office Park zone.

A cannabis retailer will not be permitted to operate less than 1,000 feet from a school on the same side or the opposite side of a street. The hours of operation for a cannabis retailer will be from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, according to the ordinance.

A marijuana delivery service will not be permitted to operate in any zone in Tinton Falls, according to the proposed ordinance.

However, the delivery of cannabis products and/or supplies to Tinton Falls addresses by a delivery service that is based outside the borough may not be prohibited by municipal officials.

Cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers will each be limited to a maximum of two businesses in Tinton Falls. According to the proposed ordinance, the license fee for each business type will be $10,000 for the initial application and $2,500 annually afterward.

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