The Butler council unanimously approved an ordinance to authorize retail recreational cannabis sales on Tuesday, making the borough the third municipality in Morris County to allow sellers to set up shop.
The vote follows a similar action on Monday in Boonton, where the council approved retail sales and wholesaling by a 7-1 vote. Rockaway Township also has approved retail sales along with the other five cannabis-related business categories: cultivation, manufacturing, wholesaling, distribution and delivery.
Those businesses were signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy after the legislature acted in response to New Jersey residents who voted by a two-thirds majority in November to legalize recreational marijuana. Morris County voters approved it by a 64.71% majority.
Like Boonton, the Butler ordinance limits sales to its Highway Commercial District, along Route 23.
Like other towns, applicants must obtain required licenses, permits and authorizations from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which is expected to produce its own guidelines after Aug. 21.
All New Jersey municipalities have until Aug. 21 to opt in or out of the state guidelines that have yet to be issued. Many other towns have chosen to opt out now, saying they want the state to act before they choose which cannabis business categories to permit.
Towns that do not opt out are bound to future state regulations for at least five years and require them to grandfather any cannabis businesses that open after that term.
Rockaway Township was the first in Morris County to approve all sales. Pequannock opted to approve cultivation but prohibited other operations.
Boonton Township also previously approved cultivation for its existing grow facility but has opted out of all classes of cannabis operations going forward.
Parsippany opted to approve wholesaling and distribution only.
But many other towns are choosing to opt out of all cannabis operations. They include Chatham Township, Chester, Dover and Mount Olive. At least 10 more have introduced ordinances to ban those operations.
The Butler council unanimously approved two additional ordinances related to cannabis sales, one to establish a tax structure and the other dealing with land use.
William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.