LOWER TOWNSHIP — Township Council on Monday became the first governing body in Cape May County to move to welcome cannabis businesses, introducing an ordinance that would allow two retail sites and delivery services.
A public hearing and final vote are set for 5 p.m. July 6 at Township Hall, 2600 Bayshore Road in the Villas section of the township.
“The bottom line is that cannabis is here and we cannot stop it. It’s the state law,” said Mayor Frank Sippel. He said it only makes sense for the township to get some of the tax revenue.
Last year, voters overwhelmingly said yes to legalizing cannabis, including in Cape May County. In Lower Township, about 70% of voters approved the referendum, according to Sippel.
Still, many towns in the county have already said no to allowing cannabis sales, including Ocean City, Wildwood and Cape May. As Sippel pointed out, the state law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in February allows towns to opt out of allowing cannabis operations — and the local tax benefit — but they will not be able to stop people from getting deliveries or smoking weed at home.
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As introduced, the ordinance would allow two licensed retail establishments, one in the commercial zone in North Cape May, where there are multiple stores, and another in the industrial zone close to the Cape May Airport on Breakwater Road and along Fulling Mill Road nearby.
The airport is home to multiple businesses, including Cape May Brewing Company, but it is unlikely it will be the site of legal cannabis sales.
“I wouldn’t be in favor of that,” said county Commissioner Director Gerald Thornton. “I’m sure the FAA would not want cannabis sales at the airport.”
Sippel said the township ordinance includes strict standards, including keeping cannabis businesses at least 1,000 feet from homes, schools, playgrounds and other uses and limiting the hours from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
He said there also would be limits on the signs used on the businesses.
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Under the proposed ordinance, the retail cannabis businesses could also offer delivery.
Lower Township may be the first, but it is unlikely to be the last. Neighboring communities West Cape May and Middle Township also are considering allowing retail cannabis sales.
“We’ve been looking at it with a pretty open mind in terms of the benefit to the community,” said West Cape May Mayor Carol Sabo. On Wednesday, she said the Borough Commission has been working on a draft ordinance that could be introduced soon, adding she has heard a lot of support from the community.
As Sabo put it, she would be short-sighted to pass up the potential revenue in a town that has neither beach tags nor parking meters. Under the state law, towns will be able to charge a 2% tax on local retailers, manufacturers and cultivators, and 1% on wholesale operations.
Because cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, whatever is sold in New Jersey will have to be grown in the state.
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Middle Township has already said yes to a cultivation site on Indian Trail Road, where there is now a vacant seafood plant. The Massachusetts-based company Insa has plans to grow and sell cannabis for the medical market but is still awaiting the needed state licenses. Company officials have raised the possibility of growing for the adult-use market there as well but do not plan to offer sales at the location except for those with a medical marijuana card.
Middle Township has so far not said yes or no to allowing retail sales, as Mayor Tim Donohue said at Monday’s Township Committee meeting.
Attorney Sean Mack had raised the issue during the public comment portion of the meeting. He represents Nicole Melchiorre and Tom Nuscis, who want to open a cannabis retail operation in Lower or Middle township.
Mack pushed Middle Township to allow a retail operation, following the lead of Atlantic City and Lower Township.
“We think that’s a better public policy choice for a bunch of reasons,” he said. Towns that say no will miss out on tax revenue, jobs and other benefits, while those that approve the use will be able to decide what zones will support the use.
“Sir, we’re aware of all this. We have studied the issue extensively,” Donohue said at the meeting. “We’re exploring all our options. We have not made a final decision.”
The state law gives towns 180 days from when Murphy signed it to create local zoning laws either keeping out cannabis businesses or deciding where to place them. Otherwise, the default rules will allow operations in commercial and industrial zones.
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City Council President Keith Bennett, in a March 18 meeting, said the economic development committee would take up the issue and make a recommendation to council.
With one medical marijuana dispensary on the Boardwalk and another expected to open, Atlantic City is expected to take part in the more open laws, including taking advantage of a 2% tax the city can collect on sales of cannabis products.
Borough Council will hold a public hearing and final adoption on June 23 on an ordinance banning any cannabis-related businesses from operating in the borough. The meeting will take place 4:15 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 3100 Dune Drive.
Also, the borough's Planning/Zoning board met on June 8 recommending an amendment to its borough codes reaffirming that marijuana is a prohibited use within the borough.
Township Committee will hold a public hearing and vote May 4 on an ordinance that would prohibit the operation of any cannabis businesses in the community.
Officials here will vote May 12 on an ordinance banning any type of cannabis business in the municipality.
City Council has taken no recent action. Voters, in a 2018 non-binding referendum, narrowly opposed its legalization.
City Council voted May 5 to prohibit the operation of any class of cannabis businesses within its geographical boundaries.
The Borough Council in a March 8 agenda noted, “Marijuana legislation will need future discussion."
CAPE MAY CITY
City Council adopted an ordinance April 6 banning smoking of marijuana in public places.
The Common Council held a special meeting May 5 to discuss regulations of cannabis businesses within Corbin City limits.
Then on June 3, the city held a special town hall meeting to discuss regulations of cannabis businesses. The meeting was to be held at at the Corbin City Railroad Park, with residents being advised to bring their own chair.
Township Committee will consider adopting two ordinances on May 25 regulating the consumption and sale of cannabis in the township.
One ordinance will ban marijuana smoking in public places. The intent is to "protect residents of and visitors to the Township of Dennis from the nuisance and health hazards of non-consensual exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke and limit marijuana-related litter and pollution."
A second ordinance, also up for vote May 25 will prohibit any cannabis businesses from opening in the township.
Public hearings will proceed both votes.
An ordinance prohibiting the operation of certain classes of cannabis businesses within its limits was introduced April 12.
EGG HARBOR CITY
Council began discussion of cannabis legislation at its April 20 meeting.
The city introduced an ordinance prohibiting the operation of any class of cannabis business in the city limits.
A full text of the proposed Code is posted at City Hall and can be found on the City of Estell Manor website at http://www.estellmanor.org/.
A public hearing, final passage and adoption by City Council will take place 7 p.m. July 7 at City Hall, 148 Cumberland Avenue.
Township Council voted May 11 to prohibit smoking cannabis in township recreation areas.
A public hearing was held prior to the vote, but no public made comments.
The township has until Aug. 21 to decide whether it will allow retail recreational marijuana sales within its borders.
As a side note, one of its largest institutions, Stockton University, is rapidly expanding its educational offerings related to cannabis, including the creation of the Cannabis & Hemp Research Institute at the university.
The town is reviewing options and will have some legislation by the 180-day deadline, a town official has said.
No legislation can be found, but Columbia Care New Jersey, LLC, is seeking planning board approval to build a state licensed medical marijuana dispensary with drive-thru window involving a currently vacant commercial property located at 4436 East Black Horse Pike, according a recent public notice.
No record of recent legislation, but at least as early as September 2019, town officials voiced opposition to locating a dispensary in town.
The town's governing body will vote to adopt two ordinances on May 13; one ordinance will prohibit the establishment of any recreational cannabis business in the township; another will medical cannabis dispensaries in its M-1 business zone.
LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP
No action taken. In minutes of the township’s senior advisory board, the township’s police chief spoke against it in 2019.
Borough commissioners were expected to approve an ordinance banning cannabis-related businesses at their June 2 meeting.
Township officials were expected to vote May 3 on an ordinance that would prohibit smoking of marijuana in public places.
Township Committee was expected to vote on May 3 on an ordinance that would prevent people from smoking or vaping cannabis in public. The township does support a proposal for a medical marijuana facility at the site of a former seafood processing plant.
The city's Planning Board will hold a public hearing June 7 seeking resident input on regulations for cannabis businesses.
For more information: The agenda will be published on the City of Millville website located at http://millvillenj.gov/310/planning prior to the meeting, as usual. Please join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone using the following URL or access phone number: From your computer, tablet or smartphone. https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/645672285 Using your phone. United States: +1 (669) 224-3412 Access Code: 645-672-285 New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts: https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/645672285 The Board Secretary will be taking the names of those in attendance once callers enter the meeting.
Township Committee voted to introduce an ordinance prohibiting any cannabis-related businesses from opening in its boundaries. A public hearing and final vote will take place June 22.
City Council will hold a final vote May 18 on banning any type of recreational cannabis business in the city.
City Council is discussing whether to prohibit the use and sale of marijuana after the plan was legalized for recreational use at the state level.
City Councilman Paul Utts has said allowing the sale of cannabis has the potential to generate tax revenue and create jobs.
An ordinance on the matter is being drafted and will be introduced in June.
On April 8, the city adopted ordinances aimed at keeping out dispensaries.
City council adopted an ordinance banning vaping, and smoking of cannabis, marijuana and hashish on the boardwalk, in parks and in recreational areas following a public hearing May 27.
The city has previously approved a medical marijuana dispensary. No legislation regarding recreational marijuana has been brought up, according to a review of minutes.
The City Council will hold a public hearing and vote on final adoption on June 15 on an ordinance banning the operation of any cannabis-related business in the city limits. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 143 Main St.
SEA ISLE CITY
The city will vote May 11 to adopt an ordinance prohibiting the sale or operation of any recreational marijuana manufacturing, cultivation, processing, distribution or dispensaries as well as the delivery of cannabis. The vote also will include prohibiting the public consumption or smoking of cannabis in public.
A public hearing on an ordinance to amending zoning regulations to prohibit all manner of marijuana-related land use and development will be considered for final adoption following a public hearing 7 p.m. July 22 in City Council Chambers, 1 West New Jersey Ave.
The Township Committee will hold a public hearing and final vote May 11 on an ordinance prohibiting "the consumption of cannabis items."
A previous township law, established in 2020, prohibited the operation of marijuana retail establishments, marijuana cultivation facilities and marijuana product manufacturing facilities.
The borough voted May 4 to prohibit the sale of marijuana, as well as the operation of an marijuana-related business. Smoking and ingesting cannabis also will be prohibited.
The township on May 10 adopted an ordinance aimed at keeping out recreational marijuana dispensaries.
No information could be found regarding legislation. At a Jan 5, 2021, meeting, the board was asked for support for a marijuana growing operation application.
The City Commission on May 13 introduced two separate ordinances that would prohibit the creation of any cannabis-related businesses and the smoking of marijuana on public property.
On June 10,the city will hold a public hearing and final vote on both ordinances. The meeting will be held 5:30 pm, in Commission Chambers City Hall, 6201 Atlantic Ave.
The city's Zoning Board took the issue up at a recent meeting. It's unclear what action was taken.
The borough adopted an ordinance May 7 prohibiting the operation of "all classes of cannabis businesses" within its borders.
Wildwood Crest will vote on May 12 on final adoption of an ordinance that would prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from consuming cannabis on private property.