BRIDGEWATER, NJ - With the recent vote in New Jersey to legalize recreational marijuana, much still has to be decided and worked out before it can move forward – but in the meantime, local municipalities are left to grapple with concerns they have had for years.
The Bridgewater Township Council, in 2018, passed an ordinance banning the sale, cultivation, manufacturing and testing of recreational marijuana within the township limits. The ordinance does not apply to medical marijuana in town.
“The township administration and council will be researching the rules and regulations which will surround the newly passed Constitutional amendment to better understand its impact to existing township policy,” Mayor Matthew Moench said.
When the ordinance was initially passed, council members noted that any statewide action on the recreational marijuana would supersede an ordinance at the municipal level.
Raritan Borough had declined in the past to pass a specific resolution or ordinance regarding legal use of recreational marijuana, but had a number of discussions about whether they should move forward. Council members said they would like to wait until the state had taken action, since it was imminent at the time.
“At this time, I don’t have any comments other than we are still waiting,” Mayor Zachary Bray said in mid November.
The borough has entertained a business interested in opening a medical dispensary in town, but nothing has moved forward at this time.
“Sarah Trent, CEO of Valley Wellness, has a resolution with the borough that should we open a medical dispensary, it would be with her company only,” Bray said. “She is still waiting to hear from the state if she will be granted the permit. The resolution also reads that she would have to appear before the governing body to get approval to sell recreational marijuana.”
On Monday, the State Senate voted to allow people to hold up to 6 ounces of marijuana without facing any penalty. The Assembly has yet to vote because of a concern over a part of the bill regarding downgrading penalties for the possession of “Magic Mushrooms.”
Recreational marijuana is expected to become fully legal Jan. 1, and then a second bill will have to set up rules and regulations for the industry, in addition to legislation to decriminalize possession of the drug to stop arrests.