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Middle Seeks to Alter Its Rules on Cannabis Retail Shops

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Federico Magonio/Shutterstock.com

By Vince Conti

COURT HOUSE – Middle Township Committee introduced an ordinance, Aug. 7, that increases the number of cannabis retail shops allowed in the municipality from one to two. The move comes as a slow rollout at the state level has yet to look favorably on any cannabis business application in the township.

Recreational cannabis sales launched April 21, 2022, nearly 18 months after voters approved legalizing cannabis use. It’s been nearly three years since that historic vote and many cannabis entrepreneurs are losing money as they wait for the approvals from the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

Many industry experts feel the state should be further along at this point, with more stores open. Instead, New Jersey continues to be plagued by slow growth in outlets, higher prices than generally prevail elsewhere, and now fears of an emerging shortage of product, exacerbated by state rules that require growers to give priority to meeting the demand for the state’s 130,000 registered medical marijuana users.

In Middle Township, one of only four municipalities in Cape May County to authorize cannabis businesses, a deal for a cannabis growing operation on Indian Trail Road has fallen through. Middle supported the Massachusetts-based INSA company in its attempt to rehabilitate the former La Monica plant as a growing site back in October 2021.

In November 2022, the township’s governing body voted to support the application for a retail sales license from the same INSA firm that had applied for a grower’s license. At the same meeting, the committee formally denied support to a second applicant, C3 Middle Township LLC, a newly formed limited liability corporation. In order for any business to successfully apply for a state license, they must first get support from the municipality in which the business seeks to operate.

A public hearing on this ordinance will be held at the Sept. 6 meeting of the committee.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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