Secaucus clarifies limits on vaping establishments

The Town Code only permitted nine vendors while there were already 11

Secaucus has again amended regulations and licensing for electronic smoking devices and establishments.

The ordinance updates Chapter 141 of the Town Code, which was previously adopted and placed restrictions on smoking in public areas, and setting licensing requirements for establishments that sell electronic smoking devices in the interest of public health.

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Upon the review and recommendation of the Board of Health, the mayor and council have determined that updates to this chapter are needed to reflect updated licensing regulations and fees.

Specifically, the ordinance updates the regulations to note that there will be no more than 11 licenses may be issued to operate a retail electronic smoking device establishment in town. The ordinance also adds sections outlining disqualifying violations.

Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the Town Council introduced the ordinance at its October 12 meeting before adopting it at its November 9 meeting. Town Administrator Gary Jeffas previously described the changes that have been made under the ordinance to the Hudson Reporter.

“So we did an ordinance within the last couple of months,” Jeffas said. “We had it down as nine vendors. But after the ordinance came through, I was talking to the Health Department and we actually have currently 11 licensed vendors.”

The previous ordinance adopted in June limited the amount of vaping establishments to nine. But there are actually 11 existing establishments, so the new ordinance was necessary because the town wasn’t trying to eliminate current establishments.

“So we realized that the number that was in the ordinance was actually less than our current vendors,” Jeffas said. “So it was not the town’s intent to revoke and remove licenses, but we didn’t want them to expand it any further. So this ordinance is really correcting and the only change really is to that number to come in line with the actual licenses we currently have out there. So 11 would be the maximum the town has available for licensing going forward.”

Adding in disqualifying violations

Jeffas also noted that the other provisions regarding disqualifying violations were something the town was already contemplating.

“We put that in to further identify that if it was a shop that was not adhering to the law, selling a product that’s not really permissible for sale, has cannabis, or something like that,” Jeffas said. “So if you’re getting violations from a policing standpoint and the public health, obviously we would have the right to remove that license due to the behavior of the establishment.”

The sections on disqualifying violations and related topics were included in the new ordinance since the town was already amending the regulations to update the number limited.

“When myself and the town attorney were speaking, I said that since we were changing it, to put in the other mechanisms by which if they’re conducting any illegal activities or having any issues with the police and stuff that they could be subject to revocation of a license if they’re not adhering to the way they are legally able to sell the products,” Jeffas said.

According to Jeffas, this ordinance and the previous one aim to restrict the number of vaping vendor establishments in Secaucus because the town doesn’t want there to be too many.

“The Board of Health in their meeting had asked for this ordinance because they didn’t want the vape businesses to keep expanding,” Jeffas said. “They wanted to have a limitation so the town wouldn’t be overrun by them. So that was one of their pressing goals.”

Read the full ordinance at: secaucusnj.gov/government/meeting-documents/2022-mayor-council-meeting-documents/2022-agendas-mayor-council/1044-11-09-2022-mayor-council-meeting-agenda/file.

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.

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