NJ Marijuana: Brick Council bans recreational weed sales
Watch scenes from the February meeting where Brick's Council introduced the ordinance to ban the sale of recreational marijuana within the township.BRICK - Should New Jersey legislators pass a recreational marijuana bill under Gov. Phil Murphy's legalization plan, new businesses in the cannabis industry will not be able to open shop in Brick.Shortly after the governor and legislators announced a deal to legalize recreational marijuana use, the Brick Township Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to prohibit sales, manufacturing, cultivation and testing of recreational cannabis throughout the municipality.Council President Andrea Zapcic said state bill S2703, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act, does little to benefit Brick.
Brick proposes ban on recreational marijuana Peter Ackerman and Amanda Oglesby, Asbury Park Press
"The state's going to do pretty good (in terms of recreational marijuana taxes)," she told an audience that filled the municipal chambers, where the six-member council voted on the ordinance. "But there is nothing in that bill that earmarks that money to come back to our schools, or to come back to law enforcement, or to come back to anything we need."New Jersey would tax legal marijuana at a flat rate of $42 per ounce, imposed on cultivators growing the cannabis plant. Local municipalities would be eligible to receive tax revenue from legal weed if they allow marijuana businesses in their town — 3 percent in municipalities with a legal weed dispensary; 2 percent in municipalities with a marijuana cultivation or manufacturing facility; and 1 percent in municipalities with a wholesaler.NJ marijuana legalization: Phil Murphy, legislators announce legal weed deal; vote coming?Brick officials estimated that marijuana sales could only generate up to $100,000 for the township — too little to justify extra municipal costs needed to collect the sales taxes. "If a town does not opt out, you're automatically in, and you're in for five years," said Zapcic. "And in five years, if you decide to opt out, the businesses that have come in in those five years are grandfathered."
She said New Jersey would be the only state to legalize recreational marijuana use and sales but not allow residents to grow plants at home."It (the bill) was written by the cannabis industry … certainly not for the citizens of Brick Township," Zapcic said.Yet, advocates for legalization argued passionately for the benefits to new businesses and personal liberty.Jeff Oaks of Oceanport urged the council to reconsider the ban. Oaks — who has stage 4 cancer, uses a wheelchair and takes medicinal marijuana — said banning sales of recreational marijuana stigmatizes its use as a treatment.NJ marijuana legalization: Edibles, legal weed home grow and expungement process questions"This stigma … is tied my health and welfare," he said. "I understand that this discussion is about rec (recreational use), but the two are intertwined at the state level."
After more than a year of negotiations, Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders have reached a final deal on New Jersey marijuana legalization. Ryan Ross and Mike Davis, Asbury Park Press
From February: Brick introduces ordinance to ban recreational pot sales.But proponents of recreational marijuana use and sales were outnumbered by township residents who urged the council to move forward with the ban. Brick resident Roxanne Jones does not want marijuana sold in her community."Recreational marijuana, if it's legalized, is not — contrary to what's been previously stated — helping the African-American or any minority community," said Jones. "We need to be sober and focused in order to be productive citizens and manage our affairs appropriately."Medical marijuana: Brick medical dispensary scrapped; owners still hope to grow cannabisThe American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey said last year that legalizing recreational marijuana would help fix "a racial justice issue and a civil rights crisis" because the war on drugs is disproportionately targeting black New Jerseyans.Jones argued that social justice problems with the existing marijuana laws should be handled by fixing the laws, not by legalizing marijuana.Other Brick residents joined her in urging the council to adopt the ordinance and ban sales of recreational marijuana."We have our children to think of," said Monica Rinaldi of the Adamston section of the township.James Rivers, also of the Adamston section, said he also worried about his children getting access to the drug if it is manufactured or sold within the municipality."I don't want them to have the opportunity. I don't want the door to be opened," he said. "If the kids get their hands on it, because no place is foolproof … it can just open the door to other drugs, far more, worse drugs. … We're trying to avoid that."The legalization bill considered by the state Legislature would, as currently written, eliminate the town's ability to decide where to allow and prohibit marijuana businesses, said attorney Kevin Starkey, who represents the Township Council."It says if a town does not undertake a ban of recreational marijuana … then the state requires the town to allow growing, cultivating, processing and selling of marijuana in all industrial zones of the township and to allow the selling … in all commercial zones and retail zones," he said. "If this (state) bill is approved, and there's not a ban in Brick, (the Council) is actually going to lose (its) power to zone, especially for retail dispensaries."Marijuana mailbag: Medical, legal weed questions answeredBrick schools: Teachers, administrators strike a tentative contract dealKeep the conversation in going in "Let's Talk About Marijuana," our Facebook group dedicated to the ongoing legal weed discussions and debate.Contributing: Mike DavisAmanda Oglesby: @OglesbyAPP; 732-557-5701; firstname.lastname@example.org
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