Princeton appears to have a long future with retail marijuana dispensaries.
On Monday, the Princeton City Council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance outlawing all types of cannabis shops, cannabis distributors, and Princeton-based cannabis delivery services from operating.
According to officials, the municipality’s 23-member cannabis task force needs additional time to develop cannabis retail company operations recommendations.
Councilwoman Eve Niedergang said the cannabis task force was not able to undertake all of the research and examine all of the concerns that they believed needed to be answered to have opt-in legislation available during the council’s public meeting Monday night.
“A temporary opt-out ordinance is on the agenda for tonight,” said Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros. “The cannabis task group will keep working and aims to offer the council a restricted opt-in policy focusing on retail cannabis sales shortly.”
Princeton Task Committee Debates on Cannabis Shops
According to Lambros, the task committee debates the maximum number of cannabis shops and their operating hours. Other operational challenges the task team is investigating include infrastructure availability, parking, mass transit, and technological access.
Leticia Fraga, the council president, said the task force wants to make sure that social and restorative justice issues are taken into account when it comes to cannabis policing and enforcement. In a statewide referendum in November 2020, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved legalizing recreational marijuana use by adults 21 and older.
Municipalities now have the right to regulate both medicinal and legal marijuana companies in their communities, according to the governor’s signing of a marijuana legalization bill earlier this year. They can also punish people who use cannabis in public. Still, they can’t stop people from using cannabis on their property or getting it supplied outside the town.
NJ Towns Ban Several Cannabis Establishments
New Jersey towns have until August 21 to ban such enterprises or establish rules limiting businesses, the number of dispensaries, and the zones in which they can operate. Towns that do nothing will lock in a five-year standard set of laws for cannabis enterprises.
South Brunswick has decided not to allow local cannabis shops to operate in the township, but Lawrence has agreed. In the city of Lawrence, two regulated recreational cannabis retail businesses will be allowed in regional and highway commercial zones.
The Zen Leaf medicinal marijuana dispensary recently opened on Route 1 in Lawrence.
Because current registered medical marijuana operators are free from the retail store limit, The Zen Leaf could also sell cannabis to the general public. Lawrence could have three cannabis dispensaries as a result.
Before the August deadline, municipalities around the state have hurried to pass legislation prohibiting cannabis businesses from operating within their borders. Some communities, such as Princeton, are taking a conservative approach and banning everything until the matter is thoroughly investigated. Some localities want to examine how retail dispensaries perform in other cities and towns before allowing them.