Borough Council would permit cannabis retail, delivery services with new ordinance

The Hopewell Borough Council has introduced an ordinance that would allow for cannabis retail and delivery service businesses to operate in the borough.

The council introduced the ordinance on April 7.

Now, the Planning Board must review the ordinance and determine its consistency with the Master Plan before the ordinance heads back to the Borough Council for a public hearing and final vote.

The Planning Board’s next meeting is scheduled for May 4.

“Taking a look at what is possible here in Hopewell Borough in terms of our existing Master Plan and zoning ordinances, and permitted uses it does appear that cannabis retail and delivery are easily implemented,” Borough Administrator Michele Hovan said. “Anything else is going to require a significant change to the Master Plan and ensuing ordinances to follow. The most logical use here would be retail in the first place.”

There are six types of licenses the Cannabis Regulatory Commission can issue: Class 1 cultivator (grower), Class 2 manufacturer (processor), Class 3 wholesaler, Class 4 distributor, Class 5 retailer and Class 6 delivery service.

Hopewell Borough’s two zones of focus for the retail and delivery licenses are the B-R Zone (Business Zone) and the Service Zone.

Councilman Ryan Kennedy raised concerns about having cannabis delivery service businesses operating in the B-R Zone.

“I think the B-R Zone is not the right spot for a place where vans will be parked. Distribution does not seem like something Broad Street or the B-R Zone should be doing,” he said.

Following Kennedy’s comments fellow council members voted to support the change in the ordinance to not allow delivery service business operations in the B-R Zone when they voted to introduce the amended ordinance.

In the Service Zone, both cannabis retailers and delivery service operations are allowed. The B-R Zone now in the ordinance only permits cannabis retailers.

The borough would allow for a maximum of two cannabis retail establishments and cannabis delivery services would be unlimited.

According to the ordinance, permitted conditional uses for cannabis retailers include operating hours set from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; cannabis products cannot be visible from a public street, sidewalk or right-of-way; not allowing the consumption of cannabis products on the grounds of the retailer or next to the establishment; and prohibiting retailers from having a drive through facility.

The borough will also not allow a cannabis delivery service to have cannabis stored or housed at the business and cannabis cannot be left unattended in delivery vehicles.

When it comes to operating hours for a cannabis delivery service they will have to comply with law and regulations. The businesses must also have 24/7 video surveillance system, according to the ordinance.

The cannabis delivery businesses must also prevent odors from escaping the facilities, maintain the exterior of the building and properly store and dispose of waste created at the business.

If approved by Borough Council, Hopewell Borough will have a $2,000 application fee for cannabis retail and delivery services. The borough would also collect a $2,000 annual registration license fee for each of the two classes, which would be refunded if the applicant does not receive a license for cannabis retail or delivery.

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