Morristown council closes 12 months with hashish vote

The Morristown Council closed the books through 2021 Adopt rules for potential cannabis companies on Tuesday.

The vote was 6-0 for zoning and licensing regulations that limit the number of marijuana dispensaries to two and specify where and when they can be operated.

Bill Byrne addresses the Morristown Council on December 14, 2021. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Just two residents and a handful of city officials attended the year-end meeting, only the second face-to-face council meeting since the pandemic broke out in March 2020. Residents Bill Byrne spoke out against the regulation.

“I think we are sending the wrong message,” said Byrne. “Do you want to get kids off drugs to be good citizens? Isn’t that what we’re about here? “

Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin. Click on the pictures or hover your mouse over the pictures for captions:

Council President Stefan Armington called it a difficult decision but said it was the will of the people. New Jersey voters backed the legalization of marijuana by a 2-1 lead in a referendum in November 2020. Seventy-seven percent of Morristown’s voters were in favor, Armington noted.

Local dialogue on this issue spanned two years and included a citizens’ advisory council, said city council Robert Iannaccone. He and councilor Sandi Mayer claimed that state and local regulations are critical to ensuring access to cannabis free of deadly street additives such as fentanyl or PCP.

“It’s not the wild west of cannabis in Morristown,” Mayer said.

She expressed doubts that someone will apply for a retail cannabis license because of the restrictions in the regulation. However, since the state will allow cannabis deliveries into the city, Mayer suggested that the ordinance give the municipality some control.

City council David Silvawho had raised concerns in the past was absent.

IMPORTANT DEADLINES

Modeled on laws in dozens of cities, Morristown’s ordinance restricts the sale of medicinal and / or recreational cannabis to the “core” Central Business District (Speedwell Avenue, Route 202 and South, Washington and Morris Streets) and MX2- Zone (Ridgedale and Madison Avenues and part of Martin Luther King Avenue).

Pharmacies are prohibited within 300 m of schools or each other and within 60 m of places of worship. Cannabis cannot be tried in the store or consumed in public.

Operation is permitted from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. A five-member council of city officials will review the applicants. The council will license and oversee.

Successful applicants have up to 18 months to obtain a state license. To be determined: How the city will issue a 2 percent tax on cannabis sales.

New Jersey has now 23 cannabis pharmacies. Earlier this month, the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission approved provisional licenses 30 other companies selling medical marijuana. The licenses are evenly distributed across the northern, central, and southern parts of the state.

Medical pharmacies are given the first opportunity to sell in the recreational market. They need to demonstrate that they have enough inventory to meet demand from patients and the public. They also have to pay fees.

Growers, processors and test laboratories can apply for state licenses starting this Wednesday. December 15, 2021. The commission will start accepting applications for recreational pharmacies from March 15, 2022.

IN OTHER SHOPS

Gremlins keep going annoy City efforts to broadcast the council meetings live. City Administrator Jillian Barrick briefly paused Tuesday’s session after yelling feedback that sounded like Geminid meteors bombarding council microphones.

When the Gremlins were tamed, Byrne described close conversations with cyclists who violated a downtown bicycle ban on downtown sidewalks.

“You can raise until the cows come home. You need to get law enforcement to start issuing tickets, ”said Byrne, an attorney for people with intellectual disabilities.

Armington said he plans to revive a cycle / pedestrian task force in 2022. Mayor Tim Dougherty asked the police to investigate the situation.

The meeting marked the end of Michael Elms” Nine year council career. The mayor recognized the frequent absence of the city council this year and thanked Elms for his many years of service.

Dougherty also praised the city sewer manager John Dean, is retiring after 35 years and Aracelys Castilloretiring from a career in the police force.

Residential parking permits expire on December 31st and must be renewed by the city administration, said the mayor.

He also urged everyone to get vaccinated and boosted. They are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Episcopal Church of St. Peter; and at the County College of Morris at Randolph on December 16 and at the Lafayette Learning Center in Morristown on December 21.

Vice-President of the Council Toshiba Foster said her charitable, Our youth their future, provides Christmas gifts for 50 families. Friday is the deadline for families Sign in.

Mayer sent the meeting attendees home with cupcakes, courtesy of the city’s Shade Tree Commission volunteers.

The city’s annual reorganization meeting is scheduled for New Years Day at noon at the Thomas Jefferson School.