NJ legal weed is here, so what’s next? Our journalists discuss | Video
Mike Davis and Jessie Gomez discuss the new marijuana laws in NJ with Municipal Prosecutor J.H. Barr and Executive Director of the ACLU-NJ Amol Sinha.
Paul Wood Jr, Michael V. Pettigano, Mike Davis and Jessie Gomez, NorthJersey.com
Bloomfield is free to welcome at least six retail marijuana stores after officials passed a revised ordinance at a special meeting on Monday.
The township had been set to pass the ordinance at a July 26 meeting but pushed it to a special meeting after suggested changes to the ordinance. The ordinance had originally been introduced at the end of June.
Some of the changes include having a 200-foot buffer to schools and houses of worship from the cannabis retailers, which is also applied to the sale of alcoholic beverages. The requirement the businesses be on their own lot with on-site parking was taken out, said Township Attorney Michael Parlavecchio.
“It disqualified too much of the commercial district,” Parlavecchio said.
They are still subject to on-site parking at a ratio of one space per 150-square-feet of customer service area like other retailers.
In Bloomfield, the cannabis retailers will be allowed to set up shop in the central business district and neighborhood business district but are barred from the historic district. All the retailer licenses would be for a Class 5 retailer, allowing cannabis items and related supplies to be sold to customers.
During Monday night’s meeting, Mayor Michael Venezia said three of the six retail stores will be micro-businesses. Micro-businesses are small-scale licenses that allow mom-and-pop stores an opportunity to do business without millions of dollars in capital.
New Jersey voters approved recreational marijuana use in the 2020 general election. In Bloomfield, 71% of voters voted in favor of legalization.
“It’s a slow step but a forward step by just allowing retail,” Parlavecchio said. “We’re trying to take it slow and wait until further regulations come down from the state.”
Municipalities have until Aug. 21 to adopt ordinances like Bloomfield’s to regulate marijuana sales or accept them by default, which occurs 180 days after Gov. Phil Murphy signed bills legalizing recreational marijuana. If towns don’t adopt an ordinance banning all or some of the cannabis class establishments, they will not be able to do so for five years. Towns can reverse bans at any time.
Municipalities can levy a 1% or 2% local tax on some sales. Bloomfield’s ordinance levies a 2% tax.
Since April, officials in more than three dozen municipalities in Bergen and Passaic counties have introduced or adopted ordinances restricting all six classes of cannabis business: cultivator, manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer and deliverer.
Kaitlyn Kanzler covers Essex County for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.