Boonton NJ Board Approves Retail and Wholesale Cannabis Sales



BOONTON – Legal cannabis sales – retail and wholesale – are coming to town.

City council voted, 7-1, on Monday to approve these selected operations, limiting them to the commercial area along Myrtle Avenue (Route 202).

Council members approved the order after a brief public discussion in which about six of 40 people present expressed their views on the measure.

Some were against retail sales and urged the council to keep operations away from schools and children.

“Main Street is not a place to sell cannabis,†said one woman, who called marijuana a “entry drugâ€.

Another resident, Amy De Palma, supported the order, saying her mother was sick “and the only thing that helps her are edibles.”

The approval goes against a trend by many municipalities to ban cannabis operations, at least temporarily, after they were enacted by Gov. Phil Murphy in June. The legislature passed the laws after New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved legal cannabis by referendum in the November 2020 election.

Mayor Richard Corcoran, right, and Boonton council members hear from the public before voting 7-1 to approve the city's cannabis retail and wholesale operations.  July 19, 2021.

Cities now have until August 21 to similarly “opt out†of state-approved cannabis operations or be required to accept them within their borders for at least five years. Cities can change course and register at any time.

New Jersey formed a commission to establish specific regulations for cannabis sales beyond creating six business categories: cultivation, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, retail and shipments.

Council member and former mayor Cyril Wekilsky cast the only vote against the ordinance, siding with elected leaders from many other cities, such as Mount Olive, who voted to withdraw from the process until the State finalizes its own regulations.

“The state hasn’t done it yet,†Wekilsky said. “I tried to tell everyone, but they didn’t listen.”

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Mayor Richard Corcoran said the council was following the “overwhelming mandate” of the residents of Boonton, 71% of whom voted for legal cannabis with a turnout of 76%.

“We looked at a number of things after the election,†he said. “The very first thing we looked at was how Boonton voted on the ballot issue. We didn’t think it was in our mandate to just throw something so high.”

Anticipating concerns about the location, the committee recommended restricting it to commercial areas along Myrtle Avenue and at least 1,000 feet from schools.

The number of licenses, taxes, fees and other considerations will be discussed at a later date, Corcoran said.

William Westhoven is a local reporter for For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

E-mail: Twitter: @wwesthoven


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