Bloomfield will be holding a special meeting to discuss and potentially adopt an ordinance on allowing recreational marijuana businesses.
During their most recent meeting, the council decided to make several changes to the ordinance that was introduced at the end of June.
The original ordinance was referred to the planning board who returned a handful of suggestions.
Michael Parlavecchio, the township attorney, said the planning board recommended a 200-foot buffer to schools and houses of worship from where cannabis would be sold.
“They reasoned that state law imposes this for retail sale of alcohol so retail cannabis should be the same way,” Parlavecchio said. “Which I think makes a lot of sense.”
Because the proposed changes could affect residents, Parlavecchio suggested a special meeting. The date has not been scheduled yet.
Parlavecchio also noted that by requiring cannabis retailers to be on their own lots with on-site parking would eliminate much of the township’s business district. He suggested the township remove that requirement that would allow all retail establishments as long as parking requirements are met.
The township is reviewing whether or not to have a buffer to the historical district and sites. The original ordinance proposed a 1,000-foot buffer but Councilwoman Wartyna Davis questioned why they needed it at all. Councilman Rich Rockwell said he didn’t see why a storefront that was ruled a local landmark should be excluded from being a cannabis retailer.
In addition to proposed changes to the recreational marijuana businesses ordinances, two amendments to existing ordinances were introduced to address pot.
Cannabis was added to the township’s smoking ordinance, which prohibits smoking in municipal buildings, vehicles registered with Bloomfield and recreational facilities operated by the town.
The second amendment addressed drug paraphernalia, removing marijuana from the list and noting that it will be regulated within the newly passed ordinance regarding recreational marijuana sales.
New Jersey municipalities have until Aug. 21 to adopt ordinances regulating marijuana sales or accept them by default. The deadline was set for 180 days, after a series of bills where signed by Gov. Phil Murphy that legalizes the industry, to allow municipal officials time to consider their options and adopt ordinances.
Kaitlyn Kanzler covers Essex County for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.