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Egg Harbor Township moves forward with plans to allow recreational marijuana businesses
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Egg Harbor Township moves forward with plans to allow recreational marijuana businesses

The Township Committee of Egg Harbor Township

From the center left of the dais, the Township Committee of Egg Harbor Township is Ray Ellis Jr., Laura Pfrommer, Paul W. Hodson, Joe Cafero and Andrew Parker.

Egg Harbor Township Mayor Paul W. Hodson discusses the benefits of the township as a place to open a business.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The Township Committee on Wednesday introduced two ordinances that would clear the way for recreational cannabis businesses within its borders.

A public hearing will be held on the ordinances before final passage during the next regular committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. July 21.

Any municipal regulation or prohibition on the operation of a legal adult cannabis recreational business must be adopted by Aug. 21, or the municipality will be subject to the laws of the state, which have not been made public yet.

“We have received no guidelines from the State of New Jersey,” Deputy Mayor Laura Pfrommer said about how the township should regulate legal recreational cannabis businesses.

Since Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation legalizing cannabis in February, area towns have wrestled with whether to allow businesses to grow or sell within their borders. Multiple communities have opted to ban the shops entirely and forgo the additional tax revenue, while a few plan to allow at least some businesses. In Cape May County, Lower Township and West Cape May have both introduced ordinances that would allow the businesses in some zones, if approved on their final votes.

Atlantic City held a series of workshop meetings this month to get neighborhood input on the potential placement of up to six cannabis licenses. City Council has also introduced an ordnance that would keep adult-use cannabis sales out of the Boardwalk zone.

Under the first ordinance introduced in Egg Harbor Township, there will be six different cannabis licenses available in the municipality — cultivator, manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer and deliverer. Licenses for anything other than delivery will cost $10,000 initially and $10,000 annually after that.

Any entity interested in becoming involved with delivery only will pay $2,500 for its original license followed by $2,500 annually after that.

The township wants to limit the number of cannabis-selling businesses within its boundaries. The ordinance limits cannabis retailers in the township to four, not including The Botanist medical marijuana facility owned by Acreage Holdings off Delilah Road.

There will be no more than four cannabis delivery businesses within the township. The Botanist also is not included in that number.

The township also wants to limit the hours of operation for cannabis businesses. Licensed cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors would be limited to operating between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Cannabis retailers could only sell their products from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

On the premises of the cannabis businesses, the township does not want anyone consuming the product, removing it from its original packaging or consuming it in a vehicle.

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A person under 21 will not be allowed in any building where cannabis is sold, and they will not be allowed to buy cannabis, according to the ordinance. No person can transfer cannabis to a person under 21.

Cannabis products will be subject to state sales taxes, and the municipality will add a 2% tax for cannabis cultivators, manufacturers and/or retailers and 1% for wholesalers.

Licenses can be suspended or revoked for violation of any provisions of the cannabis ordinance.

Fines also can be assessed to any licensee who fails to comply with the ordinance. The license holder can have his or her license subject to a fine of $2,500 for a first offense and $3,500 for any subsequent offense.

The person who violates the cannabis ordinance shall, upon conviction, be subject to a minimum fine of $250 or a maximum of $2,000 or be imprisoned for a term not exceeding 90 days or be sentenced to a period of community service not exceeding 90 days.

The second ordinance concerns the zoning of cannabis businesses.

The businesses have to be located in one of four of the township’s zones — highway business district, special highway development district, light industrial district or general commercial. Licensed cannabis retailers and delivery businesses cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school, school facility, park and/or recreational facility. Drive-through facilities are prohibited.

All facilities have to be located within enclosed heated and air-conditioned buildings and shall not be permitted in greenhouses or outdoors.

Off-street parking shall be provided in accordance with the township’s zoning ordinance as deemed by the members and professionals of the township Planning and Zoning boards.

For any licensed cannabis cultivation, processing, manufacturing or similar operation, the facility shall provide for noise mitigation features designed to minimize disturbance from machinery, processing and/or packaging operations and loading.

The Township planner, attorney and administrator along with the Township Committee crafted the two ordinances.

“I think we came up with something really good,” Committeeman Andrew Parker said.

Staff Writer Bill Barlow contributed to this report.

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