RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph Township Cannabis Subcommittee held its first of two public forums regarding the new cannabis laws on April 28, 2021 (meeting minutes provided by the township below). View the Cannabis PowerPoint Presentation given at the meeting here.
The Randolph Township Cannabis Subcommittee will be holding the second of two public forums on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 to collect input from residents and business owners on the local action the township council must consider regarding permitting or not permitting cannabis businesses under the recently enacted state law legalizing marijuana.
The forum will take place from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the municipal building, 502 Millbrook Avenue in Randolph.
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The forum will provide a second opportunity for members of the Randolph community to express their views regarding the new state recreational cannabis laws, and the actions the township council must consider in accordance with the legislation prior to the 180 day deadline (August 22, 2021) on whether to open Randolph to such businesses or prohibit their establishment.
Randolph Township Community Input – Cannabis Survey
The Randolph Township Cannabis Working Group is reviewing the options for the township to allow any of various business opportunities associated with the cannabis legalization in New Jersey. They have created a survey to gather information from Randolph Township residents. This survey may be found online or in a hard copy version at the municipal building and library, with drop boxes available for completed forms. It will take only 3 minutes to complete; your time and input is appreciated.
Governor Murphy has signed into law legislation legalizing and regulating cannabis use and possession for adults 21 years and older.
- Cannabis Legalization (P.L.2021, c.16) (Feb. 22, 2021)
Titled as the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement, Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act, this law legalizes regulatory cannabis. (A21)
- Marijuana Decriminalization (P.L.2021, c.19) (Feb. 22, 2021)
This law decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana and hashish and establishes new, more lenient penalties for the distribution of these substances. (A1897)
- Other Clarifying Provisions (P.L.2021, c.25) (Feb. 22, 2021)
This law clarifies certain provisions regarding marijuana and cannabis use and possession penalties for individuals younger than 21 years old. (S3454)
- Additional Clarifying Provisions (P.L. 2021, c.38) (Mar. 26, 2021)
This law revises certain provisions concerning parental notification of juveniles found to be using or possessing alcohol, marijuana, hashish or cannabis, as well as amending certain other provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15. (A5472)
To assist residents in gaining a better understanding of the new laws, view this Cannabis Legalization Fact Sheet .
- Existing Ordinances: Any existing municipal ordinances regulating or prohibiting cannabis are null and void. They must be readopted to be effective.
- Opt-In or Opt-Out Timeline: Municipalities have 180 days (until August 21, 2021) to take action to either prohibit or limit the number of cannabis establishments, distributors, or delivery services; the location, manner, and times of operation, and establishing civil penalties for violation of ordinances.
- No Action Result: If municipalities do not take action within 180 days, any class of cannabis establishment or distributor will be permitted to operate in the municipality, and depending on the type of establishment, be considered a permitted use in certain zones.
- 5-Year Periods: Once a municipality permits cannabis establishment or distributor operations in their community, that action remains valid for 5 years. After this 5-year period, a municipality has another 180-day window to prohibit or limit cannabis operations, but this action only applies prospectively. Those who initially opt-out can opt-in at any time.
- Local Cannabis Tax: Municipalities can enact by ordinance a local cannabis tax that cannot exceed 2% for cannabis cultivator, manufacturer, and/or retailer; and 1% for wholesalers. The tax percentage is based on the receipts for each sale and is paid directly to the municipality in the manner prescribed by the municipality. Any delinquencies are treated the same as delinquent property taxes. The tax cannot apply to delivery services to consumers or transfers for the purpose of bulk transportation.
- Delivery Rights: A municipality cannot prohibit the delivery of cannabis items and related supplies by a delivery service within their jurisdiction.
The township council has formed a subcommittee to study and collect additional information and community input on the new law. The subcommittee will be making a recommendation to the full township council prior to the expiration of the 180 day deadline for local action on the question of whether Randolph should opt in or out of allowing cannabis businesses to operate within the municipal boundaries. The subcommittee consists of the following members:
Chris Carey—Township Council
Joanne Veech—Township Council
Lance Tkacs—Township Council
Steve Mountain—Township Manager
David Ehehalt—Economic Development Committee
John Insinga—Board of Health
Kevin Keller—Chamber of Commerce
Art Lee—Planning Board
Liz Ritter—Municipal Alliance Committee
The subcommittee is meeting weekly to become more educated on the state laws and the decisions Randolph must address locally under the laws. In addition, the subcommittee will be hosting two community forums and administering a community survey to collect community input on the new laws in the upcoming months.
April 28, 2021 Public Forum #1—Meeting Minutes
A. CANNABIS PUBLIC FORUM
1. Introduction of the Randolph Cannabis Subcommittee
Councilwoman Carey provided a brief introduction for the purpose of the meeting. She explained that the forum would consist of an introduction to the Cannabis Subcommittee and an overview of the group’s purpose/goals, an overview of the New Laws, and a session for public comments.
The subcommittee consists of:
Chris Carey-Township Council
Joanne Veech-Township Council
Lance Tkacs-Township Council
Steve Mountain-Township Manager
David Ehehalt-Economic Development Committee
John Insinga-Board of Health
Kevin Keller-Chamber of Commerce
Art Lee-Planning Board
Liz Ritter-Municipal Alliance Committee
Councilwoman Carey explained that the committee’s goal is to collect information and gather data to make informed recommendations to the Randolph Township Council regarding five different types of cannabis related businesses and whether the committee recommends that they should be allowed operate in Randolph or not.
The committee has been meeting since January, and has been getting input from the Randolph business community, the Board of Health, the Police Department, Township Attorney, Planning Board, representatives from other New Jersey with medical marijuana businesses already operating; the group plans to talk to out-of-state municipalities that have experience with cannabis-related businesses in their communities. Most importantly the committee is obtaining input from residents, and Randolph business owners and the community in general. This forum and the second one scheduled for June 9, depending on demand the subcommittee will discuss adding additional events. She informed the public that an online survey has been distributed to the Randolph community, it was originally posted last Wednesday; in less than week they have had over three hundred responses. The survey is available online and is being promoted through social media and various news outlets.
The committee is seeking to get a recommendation to the council by July 1, so the council can make the final decisions before the August 22 deadline.
2. Purpose/Charge/Goal of Randolph Cannabis Subcommittee
Councilwoman Carey explained that the purpose for this first forum was to educate the public on the new laws, the decisions required under the laws to be made by Randolph Township and to collect community input. Their role this evening was to listen and gather input; they are just in the information stages and want to give the public time to speak.
3. Guidelines for Public Forum
Members of the public will have the opportunity to offer comments during the open portion of the forum, if individuals were uncomfortable speaking they could also offer comment by emailing the subcommittee through the Township Manager’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. She briefly reviewed how the forum’s public session would work. They will record and answer all the questions in writing and make the answers public so the entire community can have the benefit of seeing them.
4. Overview of New Laws
Councilwoman Carey presented an overview on New Jersey Cannabis Legalization Laws.
She explained that Based on voter approval in November 2020 the public voted to legalize cannabis in New Jersey. As a follow up to those results, Governor Murphy signed three bills into law on February 22, 2021. These laws make adults use of marijuana officially legal and decriminalize small amounts of marijuana position in New Jersey.
Under the new laws a Cannabis Regulatory Commission has been created. The five member commission is charged under the law with the responsibility of developing the regulations under which all the new cannabis laws will be administered and enforced. That commission is required by law to adopt the new rules and regulations within 180 days (August 22, 2021) of the law’s signing; the municipalities are running parallel to this deadline. The Commission will also be the body in charge of licensing the new businesses allowed under the law and overseeing those licenses once issued. The bill creates licenses for six classes of cannabis businesses. The license process is solely governed by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. She explained that a local business owner cannot successfully apply for a license without the municipality in which the operator intends to locate having opted in for that business use.
Councilwoman Carey provided a brief overview of the 6 Classes of Cannabis Licenses.
* Class 1 – Cannabis Cultivator
* Class 2 – Cannabis Manufacturer
* Class 3 – Cannabis Wholesaler
* Class 4 – Cannabis Distributor
* Class 5 – Cannabis Retailer
* Class 6 – Cannabis Delivery
She explained that any ordinance adopted by a municipality prior to the law’s enactment prohibiting marijuana establishments were invalidated by the new law. Municipalities have 180 days to either “opt-in”; and allow any or all cannabis businesses to operate locally, or to “opt-out”; and prohibit any or all cannabis businesses from operating locally. She explained that if a municipality choose to “opt-in,” local business owners in the permitted areas of business could then apply for the necessary state license to establish their operation. Towns opting in for any or all cannabis businesses may enact additional regulations governing times of operation, location, manner and number of types of cannabis businesses as well as other regulations. Once a municipality permits cannabis business, that action remains valid for five years. After the five year period, a municipality has another 180 days to prohibit or limit cannabis business, but this action only applies to future businesses, not the businesses that have been grandfathered in. If the municipality chooses to “opt-out” they may choose to “opt-in” at any point in the future.
Councilwoman Carey explained that municipalities that “opt-in” can enact by ordinance a local cannabis tax that cannot exceed 2% for cannabis cultivator, manufacturer, and/or retailer; and 1% for wholesalers. The tax percentage is based on the receipts for each sale and is paid directly to the municipality. The tax cannot apply to delivery services, consumers, or transfers for the purpose of bulk transportation. State sales tax revenue and any fines and fees collected by the commission will be deposited into a fund that may be used for the Commission’s operational costs, and to provide reimbursement to counties and municipalities for police officer drug recognition training. At least 70% of the sales tax revenue must be allocated for social justice initiatives, which as far as she knew, was undefined.
The Commission is also permitted to impose a Social Equity Excise Fee on transfers from cultivators to other types of cannabis establishments of between $10 and $60 per ounce depending on the average statewide retail cost of an ounce. Revenue from the Social Equity Excise Fee would also be allocated for social justice initiatives.
There will be a 24-month transition period, beginning with the Commission’s adoption of the regulations, followed by the acceptance and approval of applications, cannabis production will begin and then retail sales.
Residents are not expected to be able to purchase cannabis through recreational cannabis dispensaries until 2022 at the earliest. During this transition period, the medical marijuana facilities already in operation in the state will be allowed to operate in the personal use market under certain conditions.
Residents are not permitted under the new laws to grow cannabis for either personal use or sale at their homes or other locations. A license is required. The new laws prohibit the location of cannabis retail operations from grocery stores, delis, and indoor food markets, other stores engaging in retail food sale and businesses licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.
Councilwoman Carey concluded the presentation and informed the public that the group would be moving onto the public comment session. She reminded individuals seeking to speak that they had three minutes to do so and that their comments should be directed towards the actions the township must take regarding the new laws.
Public Comment Section can be seen here ..