The Berkeley Township Council is a step closer to preventing any recreational marijuana shops from having a footprint in the community.

Berkeley Township Municipal Building
Berkeley Township Municipal Building. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)

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The topic of banning recreational marijuana/pot/weed shops from setting up in town has been discussed for a while in Berkeley Township and following Monday night's Council meeting, the thoughts are becoming a reality.

At the meeting on Monday, the council officially introduced and then passed, on its first reading, an ordinance which will prohibit all recreational cannabis establishments, cannabis distributors or cannabis delivery services from operating anywhere in Berkeley Township with the exception being the delivery of cannabis items related supplies by a delivery service.

Inside the ordinance, a copy of which has been obtained by Townsquare Media News, Berkeley is also amending a list of what isn't allowed.

"All recreational classes of cannabis establishments or cannabis distributors or cannabis delivery services as said terms are defined...but not the delivery of cannabis items and related supplies by a delivery service."

The ordinance's fate could be sealed, which would be for at least the next five years, at the next council meeting on July 26 where a second reading will be done and final passage of the ordinance will take place.

It will then take effect after being filed with the Ocean County Planning Board.

Every municipality in New Jersey has until August 22 to officially have an ordinance on the books, should they so choose, which would ban recreational marijuana shops from establishing a footprint in their town/borough/city.

The Manchester Township Council is one of the Ocean County, Jersey Shore and New Jersey municipalities who more recently introduced and had an initial approval of an ordinance that mirrors what the Berkeley Council just did in preventing these shops from becoming a reality.

In their ordinance, the Manchester Council said that they are looking to prohibit "operation of any class of recreational cannabis business within its geographical boundaries."

Many Ocean County towns have raised the red flag stemming from the Marijuana vote at the polls and subsequent laws by Governor Murphy in part over health and safety concerns but also because the Murphy administration, and others who voted yes on the law this year, agreed to writing in the bill that takes away immunity and rights for law enforcement officers/police from doing what used to be their job.

The law signed by Governor Murphy also subjects police to 3rd degree crimes, hefty fines and possible civil lawsuits for investigating the underage use of marijuana or alcohol and under the law the governor signed, anyone under 21 is a minor.

The Toms River, Seaside Heights and Berkeley Councils are among those who introduced resolutions this year calling for a repeal of the Marijuana law.

Police across Ocean County as well as local/state Republican representatives have also been pushing for a reversal of this part of the law.

Even though the law was passed, you can't smoke where it's not allowed and go buying weed because there are currently no legal shops set up in New Jersey.

"You cannot smoke anything on the boardwalk, that means you can't smoke a cigarette, you can't vape and now you can't smoke marijuana and if you are, you'll be approached by one of my officers and directed off the boardwalk or to put out whatever you're smoking," President of the Ocean County Chiefs of Police Association and Point Pleasant Beach Police Chief Joseph Michigan previously told Townsquare Media News.

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