Where will marijuana sales be permitted? See list of South Jersey municipalities at end of article.
Updated with details from the proposed ordinances, which were made public on Thursday.
The Evesham Township Council on Wednesday night moved forward with an ordinance that would permit a variety of recreational marijuana businesses to open in town.
Businesses — including retailers, distributors, manufacturers and cultivators — would be limited by the law to the Evesham Crossroads Overlay Zone at the intersection of Routes 70 and 73 and to the Industrial Park District, which is north of Greentree Road.
The number of retail businesses would be limited to five in town and would need to individually go before the Planning Board for approval.
Two related ordinances also made it by Council, with all three passing unanimously on the first reading. One ordinance would impose up to the maximum 2% local transfer tax on cannabis sales and the other would prohibit marijuana use on public property, such as parks.
Public hearings and final Council decisions on the three ordinances are scheduled for August 11.
In the Crossroads Overlay, the cannabis retail businesses must front on a state highway and the public entrance cannot be closer than 250 feet to a residential district, a place of worship, a behavioral health care facility or a residential medical detoxification center, the proposed ordinance states. The retailers also must be at least 1,000 feet from the property line of any school, college or child-care center. The retail outlets also must be at least 500 feet from the property line of any public parks or public buildings.
The same distance rules apply to any cannabis business operating in the town's Industrial Park District.
Retail hours would be limited to 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday, according to the ordinance. If the New Jersey regulations are more restrictive, they would apply, the ordinance states.
The ordinance also prohibits on-site consumption of cannabis at the businesses.
New Jersey voters last November overwhelmingly decided to permit recreational marijuana use and sales for those 21 years and older. Even though cannabis businesses might not be permitted in a given community, its residents are allowed to smoke marijuana and use other cannabis products under the law.
Municipalities across New Jersey have been wrestling with whether or not to permit marijuana sales within their borders. They have until August 21, when the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission will disclose the regulations. A municipality that does not vote by the deadline automatically opens its commercial and industrial districts to marijuana businesses with no local restrictions.
"I think (the ordinance) represents a measured and careful approach for what's a brand-new marketplace in a way that respects the will of the voters," said Council member Patricia Hansen. "I hope that as time goes on and we learn more and the marketplace evolves both here and other places around the state that we can create more opportunities for these businesses to be successful in Marlton in a way that is safe and responsible."
Deputy Mayor Heather Cooper asked that the ordinances refer only to "cannabis" and not to "marijuana."
"If we could consider that modification, marijuana is an antiquated word now and so if we could consider evaluating using the word cannabis universally or exclusively," she told Council.
Some say the distinction can be between the illegal and legal forms of the drug.
But the National Institutes of Health suggests the difference between the words is far more technical. "The word 'cannabis' refers to all products derived from the plant Cannabis sativa," according to an NIH website. "The cannabis plant contains about 540 chemical substances."
"The word 'marijuana' refers to parts of or products from the plant Cannabis sativa that contain substantial amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the substance that's primarily responsible for the effects of marijuana on a person's mental state. Some cannabis plants contain very little THC. Under U.S. law, these plants are considered "industrial hemp" rather than marijuana," the NIH states.
The proposed ordinance also will be tough on signs and advertising for the cannabis businesses.
"For cannabis-related businesses, signage may contain the name of the entity only and no signage reflecting a cannabis leaf or leaves or other symbol will be permitted," the ordinance states. "The word 'cannabis' may be used, but not 'marijuana,' 'pot' or any other common terms for cannabis. No advertising signs shall be permitted. No display of pricing shall be permitted."
Among the other 70and73 communities:
- Cherry Hill has moved ahead an ordinance prohibiting all recreational marijuana businesses, acknowledging that it may rethink the decision later this year when state regulations become available.
- Mount Laurel has approved recreational marijuana businesses in town.
- Voorhees has approved recreational marijuana businesses in town.
- Moorestown has been advised by a special Township Council committee to allow recreational marijuana businesses in town.
- Medford has prohibited the businesses.
- Medford Lakes has prohibited the businesses.
RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA SALES IN SOUTH JERSEY
|Egg Harbor Township||Atlantic||ALLOW|
|Cape May City||Cape May||PROHIBIT|
|Lower Township||Cape May||ALLOW|
|Middle Township||Cape May||PROHIBIT|
|North Wildwood||Cape May||PROHIBIT|
|Ocean City||Cape May||PROHIBIT|
|Sea Isle||Cape May||PROHIBIT|
|Stone Harbor||Cape May||PROHIBIT|
|Upper Cape May||Cape May||PROHIBIT|
|Upper Township||Cape May||PROHIBIT|
|West Wildwood||Cape May||PROHIBIT|
|Wildwood Crest||Cape May||PROHIBIT|
|Maurice River Township||Cumberland||PROHIBIT|
|East Greenwich||Gloucester||ALLOW (4)|
|Lower Alloways Creek||Salem||ALLOW (3)|