NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley residents launched a petition this week in opposition to Ordinance No. 3473 which prohibits cannabis businesses from operating in the township. The ordinance was introduced at the May 4, 2021 Township of Nutley Board of Commissioners open public meeting. It has been described by individuals close to the commissioners as a temporary measure.
Opposition to the ordinance began almost immediately after publication of the agenda for that meeting. Once the ordinance was introduced at the meeting, opponents took to social media, the TAPinto Nutley 'Letters to the Editor' section, and more recently Change.org where a public petition was launched.
In a touch of irony, while Nutley was all aflutter with regard to prohibiting cannabis businesses this week, Maplewood welcomed their first dispensary, a 6,500 square foot facility called The Apothecarium. Patrons of the Maplewood dispensary must be over the age of 18 years and possess a medical marijuana card in the state of New Jersey to purchase cannabis. Read: Maplewood Welcomes its First Medical Cannabis Dispensary
Opposition to cannabis businesses is nothing new in Nutley. In July 2018, Joan Rubino of Nutley voiced her concern about marijuana stores at the July 17 Board of Commissioners open public meeting, asking if the board has passed an ordinance yet to prohibit all types of marijuana stores in the township.
In that 2018 meeting, Public Affairs Commissioner Steven L. Rogers said the board needs to make a decision about the sale of marijuana within the distance of a school. “When it comes to medical marijuana, I don’t know how much leverage we have. …Frankly, I don’t like idea of it being sold anywhere, my years of law enforcement tells me that access to recreational marijuana causes a lot of problems. Young people will be able to get this stuff. We have a responsibility to at least have some control over it,” he said. “I believe in marijuana use for medical purposes,” he added.
Also in that meeting, Township of Nutley attorney Alan Genitempo said once the State passes the law there will be rules on what the municipality can do within their jurisdiction. Scarpelli added, “As they move forward with the legislation there will be more clarity in what they are proposing. …It’s hard to outlaw something that [doesn’t exist yet].”
In November 2020, voters legalized marijuana in the Garden State. Statewide, voters supported legalization of marijuana with more than 66% in support of legalization. Up in Smoke: New Jersey Ballot Issues Results
In Nutley, residents supported legalization. According to the Essex County Clerk's Office, 10,369 votes (64.67%) were cast in favor of legalization by Nutley voters. Conversely, 5,665 (35.33%) were opposed.
A public hearing will be held during the June 1. Continued coverage of this ordinance to come.
TAPinto Nutley reporter Deborah Ann Tripoldi contributed to this article.
Since 2016, TAPintoNutley.net has been the only locally owned news organization serving the Township of Nutley. The Nutley Board of Commissioners first named TAPintoNutley.net the township's 'Official Electronic News Source' in 2018. In 2020, TAPinto Nutley had more than 1.6 million page views from 40,000 unique monthly readers.