MONTVILLE, NJ – The Executive Director of NJ RAMP spoke before the Montville Township Committee at its Nov. 12 meeting in light of the at-that-time pending New Jersey legislative committees’ consideration, and now passing, of a resolution to allow recreational marijuana in the state.

Stephen Reid, who is also the mayor of Point Pleasant Beach, said that recreational marijuana is “not a good fit” for New Jersey, and called himself the “David in the Goliath fight,” because of the governor and other politicians’ wish to fill budget gaps.

“Now it’s about money,” he said.

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NJ RAMP is a coalition of medical doctors, law enforcement officers, parents, business owners and parents who are against the legalization of recreational marijuana; Reid was invited to speak at the meeting by Committee Member June Witty, who is also a member of the township’s Drug Alliance Council-Municipal Alliance.

Reid encouraged the township committee to speak to the school administration about the problem with vaping, because children 12 and younger are starting to smoke marijuana, and the chemicals can’t necessarily be seen or smelled, he said. Driving under the influence of marijuana is also a problem in Colorado, he said, and has resulted in deaths.

“Please join us, there’s more than 50 towns who have passed an ordinance [against recreational marijuana] and growing,” Reid said. “I’m not a betting man – I feel good, but the game’s not over.”

Mayor Richard Conklin said the township had passed a resolution opposing recreational marijuana which had been sent to the legislature, but that they would appreciate guidance from NJ RAMP. Reid said if the bill is passed, towns have 180 days to “say no.”

“And you’re not going to have one dispensary in your town – you’re going to have many,” Reid warned. “This is a $58 billion industry.

Towaco resident and Drug Awareness Council member Keri Spitz told the township committee that she also wished for them to pass an ordinance against recreational marijuana in the township because it is “counter to everything the schools, the police, and the Drug Awareness Council has worked for.” She said the tax benefits have not yet been clearly defined in NJ and worried about how drivers under the influence would be tested.

Towaco resident Terry Becker stated it would be disheartening to see dispensaries opening in town because the schools and township have been so proactive about educating students about the dangers of drug use, and after the parents fought very hard to get law enforcement into the schools.

“I hope money isn’t the issue,” she said.

Joel Spitz said protecting property values is important and dispensaries reduce property values.

“Trouble is going to find us all – why would you go looking for it?” he said.

Now that the bill has passed in the Senate and Assembly committees, it now must pass on the Senate and Assembly floors.

Recycling

Beginning on Feb. 6, 2019 recycling must be dual stream, with paper and cardboard collected on that date in one container while plastic, jars, cans and bottles will be collected the next week in another container. The alternating schedule will continue from then on, until Feb. 29, 2020, when the contract with the township’s garbage collector is either renegotiated or expires.

Other News

Towaco resident Brian Hanzl and several of his neighbors on Jean Drive received warning notices regarding their sidewalks with the caveat that they must be repaired within two weeks. He and the other speakers were angry because the homeowners have to remove the broken sidewalk, cut out the roots underneath, and replace the concrete. Contractors had told them they would not cut out the roots because the tree would die, and other contractors had told them they would not replace the sidewalk until the roots were gone. The estimates the neighbors had received were for several thousand dollars for each project.

Conklin said the ordinance may need updating and “I think you have some breathing time,” while Township Administrator Victor Canning said it may be time to remove the trees.

Canning announced that the township participates in the Morris County Joint Insurance Fund Safety Incentive Program, and the third quarter safety inspection found no new corrective suggestions or violations.

A resolution was passed to appropriate $150,000 from the sewer utility capital outlay for sewer infrastructure design and planning work for the Old Lane sewer system project. Another resolution was passed granting Burgis and Associates a maximum of $12,500 to study the former GI Auto Body yard to see if it is eligible for redevelopment, similar to the area by the Pine Brook Motel also on Route 46. Redevelopment allows tax incentives to be used for developers, according to former mayor Scott Gallopo, and New Jersey Local Redevelopment Housing Law is applied to determine if an area is eligible. The township committee passed resolution 253 authorizing the Planning Board to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine whether the site qualifies as an area in need of non-condemnation redevelopment.

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