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Half Of New Jersey Towns Poised To Ban Cannabis Businesses

2 minutes reading time (304 words)

New Jerseyans overwhelmingly wanted the right to buy legal cannabis. Just not in their own towns—not yet, anyway.

Faced with an August 21st deadline to opt out of cannabis operations or be locked into it for five years, almost half of the state’s municipalities are foregoing the immediate chance to open marijuana retail, wholesale, or manufacturing facilities— and therefore the chance to collect as much as a 2% tax and licensing fees.

Some officials say they fear cannabis businesses will adversely affect children, but others say it’s just a wait-and-see approach: Wait to see what happens when the marijuana store opens in the cannabis friendly town next door, and then see if that’s something they want to take advantage of at home. Towns that opt out by August 21st can reverse course at any time, but municipalities that do nothing can’t restrict the businesses for five years after the deadline.

In Bergen County, 10 contiguous towns jointly decided to ban cannabis stores in part because they’d be located near residential neighborhoods and “places of public accommodation frequented by the public, including children.” In Union City, Mayor Brian Stack is stopping marijuana operations from opening in his town even though he is also a state senator who cast a “yes” vote for marijuana legalization.

And at the Jersey Shore, one councilman—a medical marijuana patient—opposed opening stores in his town, saying it would be a “smokefest on the beaches and boardwalk,” while a local mayor said residents “didn’t vote for 17-year-olds to become drug users, they didn’t vote for some overtaxed product so some MS-13 gangbanger can come in here and undercut” the legal market.[Read More @ Gothamist]

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