HomeIndepenentIndependent NewsMatawan introduces ordinance for cannabis license ranking process

Matawan introduces ordinance for cannabis license ranking process

MATAWAN – The members of the Matawan Borough Council have introduced an ordinance that will, if adopted, establish an application procedure and licensing fees for cannabis businesses that seek to operate in the community.

The ordinance was introduced on May 17. If the proposed legislation is adopted it will create a pathway for cannabis businesses to operate in Matawan.

On June 9 at 7 p.m., the ordinance will be up for adoption during a council meeting to be held at the Matawan Municipal Community Center. Residents will have the opportunity to ask questions about and comment on the proposed ordinance.

Borough Administrator Scott Carew explained that in New Jersey, an individual or an entity that seeks to operate a cannabis business in a municipality is required to receive an endorsement from the municipality in which it seeks to operate.

Having received the municipality’s endorsement, the individual or the entity may seek state approval for the proposed cannabis business.

Matawan’s application will determine which proposed cannabis businesses are eligible for the borough’s endorsement.

Applicants will be scored on multiple criteria to include: owner qualifications and current residency, environmental impact, community contributions, hiring practices, employee benefits, cooperation with law enforcement, security standards and commitment to diversity.

The proposed ordinance states that “an applicant must provide documented proof they have secured a location and received a minimum of 75 total points on the scoring matrix … Failure to meet these two criteria will render the application as failed.”

Applicants will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee of $2,000. In addition, a $10,000 registration fee is required. If an application is denied, the $10,000 will be refunded.

If an applicant is approved for a cannabis license, a yearly renewal fee of $2,500 will be required by the borough.

Carew said the proposed ordinance will allow borough officials to objectively determine which businesses qualify for a municipal endorsement.

Although the governing body has not limited the number of potential endorsements that may be provided, Carew said officials will not overcrowd Matawan with cannabis businesses.

“What this ordinance does is create the transparent and objective process to give our governing body the information necessary to determine if they are going to give that endorsement.

“While we have not set a limit for the number of endorsements we will give, we have limited the possible locations for such businesses to our Highway Improvement District and our Railroad Improvement District.

“Perhaps more importantly, businesses must have their location under control in order for their application for endorsement to be complete. Since there are a limited number of properties that would work and that are available, we do not anticipate providing too many endorsements.

“In terms of having the property under control, a business must be able to show legal control through ownership, lease, or some type of formal agreement. Some of the potential businesses I have talked to were looking at the same properties. We will only consider one business per property,” Carew said.

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