EATONTOWN – The Borough Council introduced a second ordinance regulating marijuana after concern the first ordinance may not pass.
The first ordinance, which was introduced July 14 and will be voted on next Wednesday, does not have the full support of the council. At least one objection is the ordinance is too restrictive because it would not allow retail cannabis businesses to open on Rt. 36 west of the Rt. 35 intersection.
Speaking Wednesday at a special council meeting called to discuss a compromise Councilwoman Maria Escalante said she wouldn’t vote for the measure unless all of Rt. 36 was open for a potential retail cannabis store.
If the measure were to fail to get the necessary council votes to pass, the borough might not have enough time to draft another ordinance in time to meet the Aug. 21 deadline established by the state for towns to regulate recreational marijuana.
If not, they have to wait five years before they could try to do so again.
Mayor Anthony Talerico Jr. said they don’t want to be in the position where the state controls the cannabis regulations for them.
To potentially avoid that circumstance, the council introduced an amended ordinance that permits retail cannabis on the entirety of Rt. 36 within the borough’s borders. The amended version will go to a vote on Aug. 5 at a special meeting.
The council will still vote on the original ordinance next week at its regularly scheduled council meeting. Even if the council votes to adopt this ordinance, the sentiment is it will return and adopt the amended version the following week.
Both ordinances permit two recreational cannabis businesses in town, along with the medical dispensary that is already established. The dispensary would be allowed to open a recreational business under the rules, giving the borough the possibility of having three recreational marijuana establishments.
The ordinances also permit for the cultivation, manufacturing, wholesale and distribution of recreational cannabis. Those businesses would be regulated to Industrial Way.
The borough is looking to collect $10,000 for a license and 2% sales tax on retail, manufacturing, cultivation and distribution sales, and 1% on wholesale sales.
Eatontown voters turned out in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana at last November’s election, with 4,414 “yes” votes to 2,176 “no” votes.
Several Shore towns though have already adopted ordinances prohibiting recreational marijuana stores, including neighboring West Long Branch.
When Jersey Shore native Dan Radel is not reporting the news, you can find him in a college classroom where he is a history professor. Reach him @danielradelapp; 732-643-4072; email@example.com.