Next steps for cannabis in Bayonne

Now that the governor has acted, the city council may finally act

Under the proposed ordinance, four cannabis establishments can get licenses to operate in Bayonne.
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Under the proposed ordinance, four cannabis establishments can get licenses to operate in Bayonne.

The Bayonne City Council voted at its Feb. 17 meeting to again table an ordinance establishing licenses for cannabis establishments in the city. This was prior to Gov. Phil Murphy signing two bills into law on Feb. 22 decriminalizing and legalizing recreational cannabis for adult use.

At the time, third Ward City Councilman Gary La Pelusa said the ordinance should be tabled until “the governor signs [the bills] into law and we know all the law.” 

While all council members were in favor, City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski noted that the council might not postpone it again due to ongoing court cases arguing that recreational cannabis for adult use was legal when the ballot referendum passed. 

Now that the laws have been signed, the council will likely move to adopt the ordinance establishing licenses for cannabis establishments at its next meeting on March 17. To attend the virtual meeting held via Tetherview, go to bayonnenj.org and click on the event on the calendar webpage.

What it means for Bayonne

The ordinance would require cannabis establishments to get licenses and permits from the state and the city. There are two types of licenses available in the city: supplier and retailer. There would be only four licenses awarded. 

One supplier license would be for a grower, and the other for a processor. There would be two retailer licenses for two different retailers. Overall, there would be one grower establishment, one processor establishment, and two retail establishments permitted.

The ordinance prohibits cannabis establishments from being housed in a vehicle or mobile structure. It 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.

Licensing information

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 offense, up to $500 per violation per day for the second offense. The third violation will result in a suspension pending further investigation.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.