RIDGEWOOD, NJ - The Village Council will discuss if and how it might regulate cannabis at its meeting on Wednesday night. In the November 2020 elections, 59.87 percent of Ridgewood residents voted in favor of Ballot Question 1, which set in motion the legalization of marijuana use for those over 21. But details still need to be hammered out by the State’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission regarding the sale and distribution of cannabis.

Mayor Susan Knudsen could not be reached for comment at press time on the issue, which is on the agenda for the Council’s Work Session.

The New Jersey State League of Municipalities has compiled the following information regarding local government mandates on the new laws, including a deadline of August 21 to either prohibit or limit the number of cannabis establishments, distributors or delivery services. 

  • Existing Ordinances: Any existing municipal ordinances regulating or prohibiting cannabis are null and void. They must be readopted to be effective.

  • Opt-In or Opt-Out Timeline: Municipalities have 180 days (until August 21, 2021) to take action to either prohibit or limit the number of cannabis establishments, distributors, or delivery services; the location, manner, and times of operation, and establishing civil penalties for violation of ordinances.

  • No Action Result: If municipalities do not take action within 180 days, any class of cannabis establishment or distributor will be permitted to operate in the municipality, and depending on the type of establishment, be considered a permitted use in certain zones.

  • 5-Year Periods: Once a municipality permits cannabis establishment or distributor operations in their community that action remains valid for 5 years. After this 5-year period, a municipality has another 180-day window to prohibit or limit cannabis operations, but this action only applies prospectively. Those who initially opt-out can opt-in at any time.

  • Local Cannabis Tax: Municipalities can enact by ordinance a local cannabis tax that cannot exceed 2% for cannabis cultivator, manufacturer, and/or retailer; and 1% for wholesalers. The tax percentage is based on the receipts for each sale and is paid directly to the municipality in the manner prescribed by the municipality. Any delinquencies are treated the same as delinquent property taxes. The tax cannot apply to delivery services to consumers or transfers for the purpose of bulk transportation.

  • Delivery Rights: A municipality cannot prohibit the delivery of cannabis items and related supplies by a delivery service within their jurisdiction.

  • Civil Rights: When responding to a call related to underage consumption or possession of cannabis or alcohol can be guilty of a crime of official deprivation of civil rights if knowingly violating the provisions of the new law regarding interactions with underage persons.