Secaucus has established a process to apply for cannabis licenses and has set up a Local Cannabis Control Board.
Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the Secaucus Town Council voted unanimously to adopt two resolutions at its September 13 meeting. The move comes after the town rescinded its ban on recreational adult-use cannabis establishments in May of this year.
However, the ordinance only permits the cannabis establishments in the Light Industrial Zone A, in a specific set of lots next to the warehouse where Harmony Dispensary currently operates. The restrictions aim to allow Harmony Dispensary, the town’s existing medical cannabis dispensary, to begin recreational sales and to keep any other cannabis establishments from opening in a residential area.
The first resolution established the application that entities would have to complete to file for a cannabis license. Read the application in full at: secaucusnj.gov/government/meeting-documents/2022-mayor-council-meeting-documents/2022-agendas-mayor-council/1022-09-13-2022-mayor-council-meeting-agenda/file.
The other resolution established the Local Cannabis Control Board, which consists of three members. Per the ordinance approved back in May, the members include Police Chief Dennis Miller, Town Administrator Gary Jeffas, and Town Attorney Keri Ann Eglentowicz.
Miller will serve for a three year term, Jeffas for a two year term, and Eglentowicz for a one year term. The terms began on September 14 and will end on September 13 in each respective year that they expire.
The resolution also says that the board will appoint a liaison to the Town Council. That person will make recommendations to the mayor and Town Council as deemed appropriate on cannabis applications and establishments.
Business interested in opening in Secaucus
After the meeting, Jeffas described the reason for the actions to the Hudson Reporter. He said that the town had received some interests by entities other than Harmony Dispensary seeking to open in town.
“We have Harmony,” Jeffas said. “And we’ve had a few inquiries. I’ve probably personally had two or three inquiries. It seems that one company is more likely to keep going… they’ve called a number of times.”
The interest prompted the town to seat the board and set up the application process.
“That way, we can send that out to them if there’s an interest, just to see where that goes,” Jeffas said. “It seems like one company has the most interest.”
Jeffas said that meetings of the Local Cannabis Control Board would be private, but that they would present their recommendations to the Town Council at public meetings.
“Since we haven’t really enacted anything yet, the paperwork from the applicant would come into the board for review,” Jeffas said. “The board would look at it in conjunction with the mayor and council, and then notify them that the application at least has support of the town, the prerequisite of the state to get all their licensing and all that stuff. I don’t foresee it where they would have a public meeting like an ABC board.”
Harmony Dispensary and another cannabis joint in town?
Due to the limitations imposed by the town, Jeffas doesn’t foresee many applicants.
“We don’t expect to have a bunch of applicants coming in based on the limitations,” Jeffas said. “It’s very limited to that industrial area, so it will be more like a review and then discussing with the mayor and council on that review and then notifying the applicant.”
The town’s support would mean the passage of something akin to a resolution of approval.
“There would be a resolution saying that the town supports it so they can give that to the state with a supporting letter saying that the town of Secaucus is in support of the application,” Jeffas said.
Harmony Dispensary does not need a resolution of support from the town, considering they are already established, while the new entity would need it since they are at the beginning of the application process.
“Harmony, I know they applied for their recreational, and they told me they are hoping to be on the October meeting for the board for the state,” Jeffas said. “If they do have that, perhaps after that October meeting they’ll have approval for recreational. Then this other company would just be starting out that process.”
If Harmony Dispensary is approved by the state, they can begin operating recreational sales without any further town approval, Jeffas said.
“They’ve already been approved by the town and the NJSEA for that location,” Jeffas said. “It’s just kind of an extension of their current operations.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.