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Tinton Falls council members OK locations for cannabis businesses

TINTON FALLS – Borough Council members have taken 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 Dec. 7, council members adopted an ordinance that establishes the locations where cannabis businesses will be permitted to operate and the standards by which the operators of cannabis businesses may receive a license.

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 state 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 Tinton Falls ordinance, A-21 established six marketplace classes of licensed marijuana businesses: cultivator, manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer and delivery.

After A-21 was enacted earlier this year, 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.

In July, the Tinton Falls council members adopted an ordinance which prohibited all six types of cannabis businesses from operating in the borough.

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 they deemed adequate.

The ordinance that was adopted on Dec. 7 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 ordinance, cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers will only be permitted to operate in locations south of Pinebrook Road. Those types of 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 ordinance.

However, in accordance with state law, 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 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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