Options for housing the state’s marijuana industry in North Jersey are going up in flames.

Since April, officials in more than three dozen communities in Bergen and Passaic have enacted or passed ordinances restricting all six classes of the cannabis business: growers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers and deliverers. On June 9, Pompton Lakes councilors confirmed their city’s place on the list.

Michael Serra, the city’s mayor, said it was clear that residents supported the idea of ​​being able to smoke marijuana legally.

More than 65% of voters in Bergen and Passaic counties voted in the 2020 general election to amend the state’s constitution to legalize recreational cannabis and establish a government-regulated market in New Jersey. Pompton Lakes voters were trending.

Still, Serra said he believes the support isn’t necessarily an invitation to the cannabis industry. On April 29, there was a special public meeting to give city officials an input on a possible “cannabusiness” ban on an even disagreement among residents.

“Ultimately, they probably didn’t want it in their own town,” said Serra. “They figured any other city would.”

Overall, most cities in Passaic County opt against it. Officials in Ringwood, Totowa, Bloomingdale, and North Haledon recently passed laws banning all six classes of cannabis businesses. In addition to Pompton Lakes, they have already taken over Wayne and Woodland Park. Other cities could follow.

“I think it’s a cautious decision because this is new to New Jersey,” said Keith Kazmark, the mayor of Woodland Park. “We will take a wait and see approach in this regard; See how it works and how it unfolds. ”

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In Bergen County, more than a dozen cities have already issued bans, including Hasbrouck Heights, Park Ridge, Waldwick, Alpine, Upper Saddle River, and Oakland. Oakland City Councilor Pat Pignatelli said the reluctance had more to do with the still uncertain regulations of the state than with the industry itself.

“The ban allows us to reserve the right to accept or reject it,” he said. “This is such a monumental step for us that I would encourage caution.”

Cities across the state have until August 21 to enact ordinances regulating the sale of marijuana or to accept them by default. The deadline was set at 180 days after Governor Phil Murphy signed a series of industry legalization laws to give city officials time to review their options and enact an ordinance.

Many cities across the state passed bans in 2018, with Murphy promising to sign a legalization bill if lawmakers could agree. However, the new law has lifted the old bans.

Municipalities that fail to enact new regulations banning some or all classes of cannabis establishments within the deadline will not be able to do so for the next five years. However, cities that have ordinances banning some or all of the classes can reverse their decisions. Existing operations would still be continued.

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Like officials in Woodland Park and Oakland, councilors at Pompton Lakes cited a desire to oversee the development of the industry. Some, like Councilor Maria Kent, expressed interest in reviewing regulations to allow select categories such as cultivation and production, but not immediately.

“I think our city is more of a conservative city, I don’t think we like getting into things that haven’t been tested yet,” said Kent. “I am of the opinion that deregistering would initially be the most prudent way, as you can get back in at any time.”

Splashing cities won’t wait, however. Haledon officials have drafted an ordinance allowing all types of cannabis deals in its neighborhood business zone and C-business zone. Introduced on May 27th, the regulation could be adopted on July 8th.

“We will accept the fact that more than two-thirds of New Jersey residents wanted this legalized,” said Domenick Stampone, Haledon Mayor.

“We see this as a source of income,” added Stampone, “and frankly it just reflects what people want.”

Retail sales and other cannabis transactions are taxed at the state level. However, industry host communities may impose additional taxes of 1% or 2% on selected transactions. In Paterson, where officials are still debating possible recreational regulations, the city government is taking about $ 25,000 a month in a 2% transfer tax on medical marijuana sales.

Mayor Andre Sayegh said the medical distribution center is hiring local workers, increasing the city’s revenue and generally proving to be a positive addition to the community. That is a good sign of sentiment around a potential recreational pharmacy, he added.

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In the city of Passaic, officials passed an ordinance on April 27 banning companies that retail and supply cannabis. However, with the ordinance, the parish was the first in Passaic County to allow grow houses, packers, marijuana wholesalers, and cannabis shippers.

City officials are trying to move canna businesses into older factories in the manufacturing zone along Market, Eighth, and South Streets, said Rick Fernandez, the city’s business administrator.

Officials across the county in Republican-controlled West Milford are expected to greet all classes in the industry. On June 9, officials there introduced an ordinance that would allow retailers to set up stores in the city’s commercial and retail zones – mainly along Route 23 or Greenwood Lake Turnpike. The other uses would be limited to commercial areas, as the regulation shows.

Contributors to this report are Philip DeVencentis and Matthew Fagan.

David Zimmer is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For full access to the most important news from your local community, subscribe or activate your digital account today.