EDISON – Township officials are looking to allow all classes of marijuana businesses in one section of the municipality, but those interested in operating them will have to pay hefty annual licensing fees.
Last week the Township Council introduced an ordinance regulating the number of licensed cannabis businesses in the township, along with their location, manner, times of operation and licensing requirements.
A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 19 in the council chambers.
The ordinance sets the annual license fee at $2,500 for cannabis delivery businesses. That fee increases to $7,500 a year for manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors; $10,000 annually for retailers and tops off at $15,000 for cultivators.
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The ordinance permits 10 cannabis establishment licenses, with a maximum of three for retailers and the remaining seven distributed among cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and delivery, with no less than one license per class. If after six months applications are accepted and no application is submitted for a particular class, then up to two licenses will be permitted for the remaining classes, the ordinance states.
Under the ordinance, cannabis establishments would be a permitted use in the township in the area southeast of Woodbridge Avenue between Amboy Avenue and Mill Road, except for areas zoned for any class of residential use or within 1,000 feet of any area zoned for any class of residential use.
Cannabis establishments would be prohibited in all other township zoning districts.
Cannabis businesses would not be allowed to also sell alcohol or tobacco products and there could be no on-site consumption of food, alcohol, tobacco or cannabis by patrons. The businesses could be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and no one under age 21 would be allowed in a license cannabis establishment, the ordinance states.
Licensed cultivation and processing operations would be required to provide air treatment systems with odor absorbing ventilation and exhaust systems so any odors from inside the facility are not detected outside. Those businesses also would be required to provide noise mitigation features to minimize disturbances from machinery, processing, packaging and loading operations.
All cannabis businesses would be required to be equipped with security cameras to cover the exterior parking and loading area, entry points and interior spaces open to the public or used for storage or processing of cannabis products. Police will need to be provided with access to security footage upon request.
Under the ordinance, all cannabis businesses would be required to provide at least one security guard during all times the facility is open to the public, lighting cannot spill over into residential neighborhoods and cannabis businesses cannot be located 1,000 feet from residential use or residential zone property, within 1,000 feet of a licensed child care facility, elementary, middle or high school and public or private college or university.
In addition, cannabis businesses cannot be located within 500 feet of a halfway house or correctional facility, within 500 feet of another cannabis business or 1,000 feet of a public park or house of worship.
Periodic inspections will be made by the health department, zoning official, police or fire department to check for compliance, according to the ordinance.
Suzanne Russell is a breaking news reporter for MyCentralJersey.com covering crime, courts and other mayhem. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.