NEWTON — The Town Council plans to impose a tax on all forms of cannabis sales as it works to update its ordinances to allow commercial marijuana businesses to open.
On Monday, the council unanimously approved zoning updates that will restrict cannabis businesses to be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but closed Sundays.
Also approved was an update that allows the Planning Board to set odor and ventilation guidelines as conditions for businesses to open.
The board also introduced an ordinance creating a town-imposed tax on transfers and sales of live plants, manufactured product and wholesale and retail sales. New Jersey allows municipalities to impose local taxes of up to 2% on marijuana cultivation and sales.
The ordinance, which goes to a public hearing and possible second vote on Aug. 9, imposes a 2% tax on sales by a cannabis cultivator (grower) and manufacturer; 1% on the receipts from each sale by a wholesaler and 2% on each sale by a retailer.
The same rates apply to any license holder operating more than one licensed establishment on the value of items transferred from a facility located in Newton to another facility, whether in the town or not.
Town Manager Thomas S. Russo Jr., said “difficult to estimate revenues at this time,” because there have been no formal applications for any cannabis-related business in town.
While the town has restrictions and conditions on where growing, manufacturing, wholesaling and retail can be located, there is no limit in the ordinances on the number of any of the four classifications of businesses.
Earlier this summer, the council updated no-smoking policies on town-owned property, including parks, to include bans on smoking marijuana.
The council also approved a five-year extension on certain property tax breaks for improvements to buildings in the historic district which includes properties in the area of Main, High and Spring streets.
Also introduced, and scheduled for Aug. 9 public hearings, is an ordinance to spend $485,000 for improvements to several of the town’s water and sewer pump stations as well as renovations to sewer lines and an electric power study at the wastewater treatment plant.
The council will also hold a public hearing that evening on a $3.8 million bond issue for the construction of a pump station on Sparta Avenue. The project was originally estimated to cost about $800,000 less, but that was a pre-COVID estimate, according to Town Attorney Eric Bernstein.