WEST CALDWELL, NJ — In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the members of the West Caldwell Township Council approved an ordinance disallowing the growth and sale of recreational marijuana within the community.

According to the amended ordinance, the Township of West Caldwell has determined that "businesses selling recreational marijuana create special concerns for security, safety and location." The language of the ordinance specifically states that the township has deemed it to be in the best interest of the community to "prohibit the growing and selling of recreational marijuana within [West Caldwell's] borders.”

“It makes no sense to approve sale and growth so much as an opioid crises exists,” said Mayor Joseph Tempesta, adding that that in Colorado, the number of automobile fatalities have increased 15 percent since recreational marijuana became legal. 

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He also noted that this ordinance would have no impact on the usage of medicinal marijuana usage. Although state law may one day supersede this ordinance, Tempesta said that "for now, this will be the law in West Caldwell.”

The council also approved the appointed of Michael Luker and Joseph McCarthy to the West Caldwell Volunteer Fire Department. Tempesta noted that although Luker was already a 39-year member of the department, a quirk in the pension law states that if a public employee retires from a paid position, the state requires the retiree to sit out briefly prior to continuing volunteer services.

In other news, Council President Stanley Hladik called for a moment of silence to honor those lost on September 11, 2001, including three residents of West Caldwell who perished that day. Hladik reflected how kind people were to each other during the first few weeks after the attack, and how differences between citizens were put aside and all stood proud to be Americans.

During his committee report, Councilman Michael Docteroff noted that the public works department is working in tandem with the county to fix culverts damaged by the summer storms. He also reported that on Labor Day, the town pool saw approximately 700 residents enjoying the last unofficial day of summer.

Hladik shared that the Caldwell-West Caldwell High Class of 1953 was celebrating its 65th reunion this week with events that will be attended by 60 graduates; Councilwoman Kathy Canale reported that the fall season of sports were underway, including flag football, kindergarten soccer and the new field hockey program; and Councilman Joseph Cecere apprised all that the township was expecting 15 new cucumber magnolia trees to be disbursed throughout the community. Cecere thanked Pete Biven for his assistance with this initiative.

The next council meeting will be held on Oct. 9.

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