Living With NJ’s Marijuana Legislation
Avalon deals with unruly crowds
For the mayor, the responsibility was clear.
“The state is directly responsible for unlawful conduct which compromises public safety,” Pagliughi said.
“This unfortunate measure is a direct result of Gov. Phil Murphy’s destruction of effective enforcement of laws pertaining to juveniles,” he added.
Lower Township adopts ordinance for cannabis businesses
Lower Township adopted changes to regulations to allow cannabis retail sales and delivery businesses. Meanwhile, Middle Township and Wildwood Crest join other municipalities prohibiting all classes of cannabis establishments. Middle reaffirmed its support of a medical marijuana dispensary on Indian Trail Road.
No change to municipal deadline on cannabis establishments
Under the state’s adult use cannabis legislation, New Jersey’s 565 municipalities have until Aug. 21 to adopt local ordinances. The Legislature did not act on a bill that would’ve extended that deadline by 60 days.
The new state Cannabis Regulatory Commission also faces the same Aug. 21 deadline to announce its rules and regulations. This means the commission’s work will not be known to municipalities until after the towns must set their ordinances. The pressure is on.
Opioid crisis remains
We Can’t Let It Happen Here!
For Wildwood Crest Mayor Don Cabrera, more is needed. He’s talking about having independent structural engineers conduct inspections of multifamily structures 18 to 20 years old and older. The municipality was still developing its plans, with Cabrera hoping for a state effort, but not willing to wait long for Trenton to act.
One recent caller to a Stone Harbor Borough Council meeting stated the obvious: “The beaches are our livelihood.” The call came because the borough has problems with some eroded beaches that practically disappear at high tide. The only areas of sand buildup in the borough are in environmentally protected areas, making temporary solutions, like back passing, impossible.
The borough’s plight is partly due to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife position that prohibits the use of federal funds for borrowing sand from Hereford Inlet. The borough was left out of the last federal beach replenishment in 2019. Bet that was one invitation that didn’t “get lost in the mail.”
A federal/state hydraulic beach fill project is scheduled for 2022, but, once again, it is unclear if Stone Harbor and North Wildwood will benefit. Litigation addressing U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s interpretation of the Coastal Barrier Relief Act is stalled in the courts. Currently, that case brought by the National Audubon Society against the previous Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt is in its third stay while the new Washington administration decides what its position is on the issue.
One bit of positive news is a $4 million commitment from the state to help with needed repairs on the Wildwood Boardwalk. Does this mean an end to creaky boards? Only time will tell.
Pandemic? What Pandemic?
The county’s Covid numbers continue to trend well. The county has not had a Covid-related death since late May. The number of new cases remains low. The rate of transmission has consistently remained below the desired threshold of 1.0.
It is true that the vaccination pace continues to slow. Still, the county, with 58% of its population fully vaccinated, is ahead of the state, which has 56% fully vaccinated.
It all sounds well and dandy until the reality sinks in that 58% is still well below the threshold for herd immunity. Increasing the rate significantly appears to be an uphill battle. Warm weather is an ally, as it was last summer, but is there a risk of a spike when the heat ends?
Projections that the highly transmissible delta variant would make inroads in New Jersey were correct. For the four weeks ending May 8, the delta variant represented 1.3% of the variants sequenced. For the four weeks ending June 19, it grew to 26.8%.
The message from national health officials is to get vaccinated, which, in turn, limits the ability of the virus to mutate and develop more dangerous variants. The majority of those who would be inclined to heed that message probably already have. Are we at a standstill?
Municipal budget impacts
Watch your beach bag! An 18-year-old Wildwood man was arrested after police said he took three bags from beachgoers in North Wildwood.
The parents of a 3-year-old girl who fell to her death in a campground septic tank are suing, saying the campground made a habit of leaving tank lids unsecured. The campground is owned by an out-of-state, publicly traded real estate investment trust based in Michigan.
Over one-third of nation relies on volunteer departments for response to 911 calls
The heavy reliance on volunteer departments for firefighting and emergency medical services is at odds with a decline in the number of individuals available as volunteers. Municipalities are under pressure to develop new strategies.
Spout Off of the Week
North Cape May – A car or truck cannot stop on a dime. Pedestrians and bicyclists have gotten so brazen and just cross the street expecting the world to stop for them. Even jamming on the brakes cannot stop a vehicle immediately. One dark night, parked on a W.C hotel’s property with cars parked on both sides, oh so slowly backing out, we did not know a man stood behind my car and told his children to walk. Luckily, unlike most drivers, we checked 1,2,3 times very carefully before backing out. People should wait for vehicles. Children should be taught to wait.