Two bills that would legalize cannabis in New Jersey have stalled on Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk, as he urges state lawmakers to make changes to the legislation to establish penalties for underage use.
As a result, the Bayonne City Council has postponed a vote on its ordinance at its Jan. 20 meeting.
‘It’s establishing the licenses’
Third Ward City Councilman Gary La Pelusa made a motion to postpone the vote.
“I don’t know why this is being stalled,” he said. “We are not approving or disapproving the law that was already voted on. It’s establishing the licenses, but I don’t know what may come when it’s signed in.”
La Pelusa said he did not want to vote on something when it’s not a law. He asked to postpone the vote until the governor signs the bills into law.
City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski and Councilman At-Large Juan Perez agreed. The council voted unanimously to postpone the vote.
Hugh Giordano of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union represents cannabis workers. He said that while the council did not vote on the ordinance, he wants workers to be part of the conversation about what the local cannabis industry may look like.
“I just wanted to make sure we put on record that we believe workers’ rights is part of the conversation and must be a part of Bayonne’s conversation, specifically making sure that they have good practices,” Giordano said. “This is a great way for economic stimulation, not only because of the jobs, but because of the clientele that you will attract.”
Giordano offered the council assistance with labor standards. As representative of Garden State dispensary, he offered the council an educational tour.
The ordinance would require cannabis establishments to get permits from the state and the city. There would only be only four city licenses.
There are two types of cannabis licenses: supplier and retailer. One supplier license will be for a grower, and the other for a processor. There will be two retailer licenses.
The ordinance prohibits cannabis establishments from being housed in a vehicle or any mobile structure. It also prohibits cannabis establishments as a Home Professional Occupation.
According to the ordinance, establishments must be equipped with ventilation systems with carbon filters sufficient to mitigate cannabis odors emanating from the interior.
Outside generators and other mechanical equipment used for power supply, cooling, or ventilation must be enclosed and have appropriate baffles, mufflers, or other noise reduction systems.
Retail hours are limited between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.
The ordinance would designate the City Administrator as licensing authority.
State law requires communication between the city and the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission. No cannabis establishment may operate in Bayonne without the issuance of a state permit or license and full regulatory oversight of the cannabis establishment by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission or other state licensing authority as well as oversight and issuance of a license by the city.
Criteria, such as the applicant’s ties to the city may give one application an advantage over others. The ordinance requires at least one shareholder possess proof of residency in Bayonne for five or more years in the past ten years or at least one shareholder’s continuous ownership of a business based in Bayonne for five or more years in the past ten years.
Licenses will be valid for three years. License violations will result in a fine of up to $250 per violation per day for the first offence, up to $500 per violation per day for the second offence. The third violation will result in a suspension pending further investigation.
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