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Sunday, May 19, 2024

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Lower Becomes 1st CMCo Municipality to Approve Marijuana Businesses

Marijuana Smoking

By Carl Price

VILLAS – Lower Township Council passed two ordinances at its July 6 meeting that amend the municipal land development code, allowing marijuana sales and delivery businesses. Another ordinance passed, setting mercantile license fees for those businesses at $2,000 each.
Mayor Frank Sippel, Deputy Mayor David Perry and Council member Thomas Conrad said the decision to approve the ordinances was not an easy one.
“In the November state public question, 70% of Lower Township voters approved of legalizing marijuana. Still, it was not an easy decision for any of us,” Sippel said.
Public comment on the ordinance mostly supported it. 
Hugh Giordano, from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 152, which represents the Cannabis Workers’ Union, said cannabis businesses offer good jobs with good wages.
“The cannabis industry offers well-educated jobs, union jobs, with union benefits, good middle-class jobs that offer careers,” Giordano said.
Jane Erlow, of Lower Township, asked, “Do we want to be known as the cannabis distributor at the shore? Other municipalities are saying no.”
The cannabis businesses, one of each in each zone, would be permitted to operate in the GB-1 (business) and the industrial zoned districts with several restrictions added to their operation, including hours of operation and distance from schools, residential structures, playgrounds, recreation facilities, beaches, the library, or public buildings.
Council recently passed ordinances prohibiting the use of marijuana in all but private property.
Sippel said the ordinance was reviewed by the Planning Board and found to comply with the municipality’s land-use ordinance.
No licenses will be issued until the state finalizes regulations regarding cannabis businesses, expected by Aug. 23.

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