Marijuana shops in Neptune City? NJ boro wants residents’ input
There has been a recent flow of feedback provided to the governing body in Neptune City by some residents voicing concern about the possible locations of cannabis dispensary shops in the borough.
Neptune City is now bringing back another opportunity for residents to provide feedback on this topic.
Since most New Jersey voters approved the 2020 referendum, cannabis businesses have been looking to open up shop across the state and after some delays along the way, there have been locations popping up for those interested in making that purchase.
In Neptune City, with most residents voting in favor of it as well, the governing body in the borough began to discuss it.
Mayor Andrew Wardell said the conversations began back in 2020 before it was voted on by residents and in speaking with the governing body, it was brought up that "if this passes, how do people feel about Neptune City being cannabis contributors? Most people were like, yea, I don't see that being a problem."
In the summer of 2021, an ordinance was adopted to allow retail-only sales in Neptune City and when it was, there wasn't much pushback at that time, Mayor Wardell said.
Over time, there rose some concern among local residents about the locations being proposed by the companies looking to come in and set up shop.
It was then that Mayor Wardell explained that a lot of people were upset and asked if the ordinance could be updated, prompting a recent letter to residents in the borough.
Due to the vote in 2020 and each town across the state having to say yes or no to a state-imposed deadline of opting in or opting out of permitting these cannabis businesses in their municipality, Mayor Wardell echoed an understanding a lot of other towns face.
"If you opt in, you're in, you can't just opt out. We can't get out of that now, we did that almost two years ago."
When some of the residents learned that the cannabis companies were thinking of setting up in a certain part of town, they became concerned, in part, because "some people have a parent that lives in that neighborhood."
There were other concerns among some residents about traffic if/when one or two shops were to open up along the Route 35 corridor.
Under the Neptune City ordinance, stores would have to be at least 500 feet apart and nobody is allowed to consume marijuana/cannabis anywhere in public in Neptune City, it has to be at home.
The next council meeting in the borough of Neptune City will be on Dec. 12 and you can submit feedback in person then or anytime by emailing CAC@neptunecitynj.com.
"We want to hear people out before we introduce it (the ordinance)," Wardell said. "We're not going to do anything until the new year."
This is your opportunity he said to express concerns that you may have with the locations proposed for the cannabis shops.
Two companies have applied for resolutions of support, Wardell said, in East Coast Cannabis and Ivy Hall.