WARREN TWP. – The Township Committee voted unanimously Thursday to bar business marijuana growers, sellers and producers from opening on the town.
The transfer comes as New Jersey municipalities have till Aug. 22 to both choose in or choose out of permitting authorized marijuana companies to open inside their borders. Towns that choose out, like Warren, have the choice of opting again in at any time, however cities that don’t act in any respect are routinely opted in for 5 years by default.
For probably the most half, Township Committee members stated the choice is extra about process than propriety, as Committeewoman Jolanta Maziarz put it. Committee members stated they want time to coach themselves on the difficulty and to see what the rollout of marijuana legalization will appear like in different cities.
“I don’t wish to expose my community to something that is unknown,” Maziarz stated, “it’s not the prudent thing to do. I don’t want us to be the guinea pigs, that’s all.”
About 60 % of Warren voters voted “yes” on Public Question No. 1 within the 2020 basic election to amend the State Constitution to legalize grownup possession and use of marijuana, and to legalize the cultivation, processing and sale of retail marijuana. The measure handed statewide with about 67 % of the vote.
Advocates Address Committee
The unanimous vote got here following impassioned pleas from authorized marijuana advocates for the committee to rethink the ban. Four of the 5 audio system spoke of the necessity to present quick access to medical marijuana for the sick.
East Hanover resident Edward Grimes stated the group has attended about 100 native authorities conferences this 12 months urging cities to welcome marijuana companies.
“There are sick people that need your help,” he stated. “We’re not here for recreational marijuana, we’re here to talk about medical cannabis for people that are suffering from cancer and suffer from multiple sclerosis,” amongst different illnesses and situations.
With solely 13 medical marijuana dispensaries within the state, Grimes stated the traces are lengthy and provides are low for individuals who need assistance. By banning marijuana gross sales domestically, he stated the committee could also be asking wheelchair-bound residents to discover a journey out of city, or to pay additional by ordering medical cannabis by the mail.
In implementing an almost 7 % tax on marijuana gross sales, Grimes added, the New Jersey is successfully taxing drugs. Towns even have the choice of tacking on an extra 2 % tax on native marijuana gross sales.
The committee heard further pleas for them to think about these affected by most cancers, auto-immune issues, despair and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the latter two being particularly widespread amongst army veterans.
Hugh Giordano, a consultant of the United Food and Commercial and Commercial Workers union, urged the committee to desk the ordinance in order to not deprive residents of employment alternatives and the township of financial progress. He stated the cannabis business in New Jersey provides residing wages and robust protections for employees.
Only one Warren resident, Joseph Farro of Sage Drive, spoke in the course of the public listening to on the ordinance. Farro stated he supported the committee’s choice to implement the ban.
Committee members stated they help the usage of medical marijuana and expressed sympathy to these struggling, however stated the ordinance is important to control the sale of leisure marijuana whereas the township nonetheless has the facility to take action.
“We need time to figure it out, and that’s all we’re doing,” Maziarz stated. “We’re trying to take our time to figure it out so that we can impose appropriate regulations, because if we don’t do it by August, then we will have forfeited our opportunity as a town to regulate our land uses appropriately. I don’t think we should be doing that.
“So as much as I’m sympathetic, we need time, we need to figure this out and we need to do it right.”
Deputy Mayor Victor Sordillo expressed concern about exposing his grandchildren to the odor of marijuana ought to its use grow to be extra prevalent, and stated he believes many residents really feel the identical approach. He stated he want to see two to 3 years of knowledge on the dangers and outcomes of authorized marijuana in New Jersey earlier than reconsidering the ban.
Mayor George Lazo stated the committee wants extra time to check the difficulty, noting it could actually choose into welcoming marijuana companies at any time as soon as it feels it has accomplished its due diligence.