Morris Plains the Community of Caring
531 Speedwell Ave, Morris Plains, NJ 07950     973-538-2224

Public Forum – Cannabis Business Licenses

The Borough of Morris Plains will set aside the first hour of its public meeting on Thursday, May 6, from 7:30PM to 8:30PM to educate residents about local action the Borough must consider regarding permitting or not permitting cannabis business licenses under the recently enacted state law legalizing marijuana. There also will be an opportunity for residents and business owners to comment.

The agenda for the forum includes a presentation on the recently enacted law, a review of the business licenses which can be permitted, and the actions the Borough Council must take prior to August 22, 2021 deadline to either open Morris Plains to such businesses or prohibit their establishment. Residents and business owners will have an opportunity to comment only on the licensing issues or can send comments for consideration to the Borough Clerk at prior to the meeting up until 4:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting. All public comments submitted in advance must include the individual’s name and address.

Due to COVID-19 public health concerns and the Governor’s Executive Order on social distancing and spacing requirements, reservations are being accepted for fifteen (15) in-person attendees at the meeting. Please call the Borough Clerk to reserve at 973-538-2224. Members of the public who do not have a reservation are invited to attend remotely via Zoom. Zoom meeting information will be included in the official meeting notice posted on the Morris Plains Borough website 48 hours before the meeting.

View PowerPoint Slides from the meeting

Background Information

In November, 2020 New Jersey voters approved an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution to allow for the legalization of marijuana possession and use for adults at least 21 years of age.

On February 22, 2021, Governor Murphy signed into law P.L. 2021, c.16, known as the 

New Laws New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act (the “Act”) legalizes the recreational use of marijuana by adults over 21 years of age establishes a REGULATORY, LICENSING AND TAXING scheme for commercial recreational (adult use) cannabis OPERATIONS, USE and POSSESSION.

The law establishes six classes of licensed businesses:

  • Class 1- Cannabis Cultivator: Grows, cultivates, or produces cannabis in New Jersey, and sells. Sells and may transport to other cannabis growers, processors, wholesalers or retailers, but not consumers.
  • Class 2 – Cannabis Manufacturer: Processes cannabis items in New Jersey by purchasing or otherwise obtaining usable cannabis, manufacturing, preparing, and packaging cannabis items, and selling. Optionally transporting these items to other cannabis processors, wholesalers or retailers, but not to consumers.
  • Class 3 – Cannabis Wholesaler: Purchases or otherwise obtains, stores, sells or otherwise transfers. May transport cannabis items for the purpose of resale or other transfer to either another cannabis wholesaler or to a cannabis retailer, but not to consumers.
  • Class 4 – Cannabis Distributor: Transports cannabis items in bulk intrastate from one licensed cannabis establishment to another licensed establishment. May engage in temporary storage as necessary to carry out transportation activities.
  • Class 5 – Cannabis Retailer: Purchases or otherwise obtains usable cannabis from cannabis cultivators and cannabis items from cannabis manufacture or cannabis wholesalers and sell these to consumers from a retail store. May use a cannabis delivery services or a certified cannabis handler for the off-premises delivery of cannabis items and related supplies to consumers. Must accept consumer purchases to be fulfilled from its retailer store that are presented by a cannabis delivery services to be delivered to the consumer.
  • Class 6 Cannabis Delivery Service: Provide courier services for consumer purchases of cannabis items fulfilled by cannabis retailer. Make deliveries of cannabis items and related supplies to consumers. Includes the use by a licensed cannabis retailer of any 3rd- party technology platform to receive, process, and fulfilling orders by consumers. Any physical acts in connection with filling the order and delivery must be accomplished by a certified cannabis handler performing work for or on behalf of the licensed retailer.

Municipal Considerations

  • 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.

Cannabis Working Group / Subcommittee

The Borough has formed a subcommittee to research and gather information and community input with the goal of making recommendations to the Morris Plains Borough Council regarding allowing cannabis-related businesses to operate in the Borough. The subcommittee consists of the following members:



Nancy Verga

Councilmember, Ordinance Committee Chair

Sal Cortese

Councilmember, Ordinance Committee Member

Dennis Wagner

Councilmember, Ordinance Committee Member

Michael Koroski

MPPD Police Chief 

Dave Schulz

MP Board of Adjustment

Annette Wolff

Chair, Morris Plains Municipal Alliance Committee


Board of Health

The subcommittee meets weekly to share and discuss research and will make a recommendation to the Council in June.

Other Resources

Arbor Day Celebration

Arbor Day Flyer (PDF)

Learn about the Silky Dogwood that residents were able to take home from the Arbor Day Celebration below! 

Silky dogwood seedlings provided to Morris Plains Residents

Silky dogwood is a large shrub, often 6-10 feet in height. The growth habit is upright rounded, but where stems are in contact with the ground, roots are formed. This behavior creates thickets. Young dogwoods have bright red stems in the fall, winter and early spring, which turn reddish-brown in the summer. You could effectively use these for hedgerows and windbreaks, or even as a specimen plant. One would look terrific at the back border of your garden, and they even work well for erosion control.

Your Silky Dogwood has attractive greenish-white flower clusters that appear in flat-topped, 2.5-inch clusters in the spring. The flowers mature to berry-like drupes that begin white but slowly transform to a lovely blue for the fall. The fruit is eaten by game birds, and is especially important as a source of food for migrating songbirds. The glossy, medium-green leaves are up to 5-inches long with noticeable veins and silky hairs on their undersides (thus this Dogwood’s name).

The Silky Dogwood grows to be 6′ – 10′ feet in height. It will mature to 6-8 feet tall with an equal spread, but can be trimmed to any size. It has no serious insect or disease issues and is relatively fastgrowing.

The stems and leaves of the silky dogwood tree remain a favorite food for deer, especially in the winter. Some gardeners use the trees to provide food for deer so they stay away from other areas of their garden. Others use the tree to welcome deer to their wildlife-friendly yards.

Planting of Bareroot Seedlings

Store seedlings in a cool, humid location in their unopened bundles until they are planted. Root cellars, crawl spaces, basements, and unheated barns work well for short time periods. Never allow seedlings to freeze or expose seedlings to temperatures above 60 degrees. During storage, check bare-root seedlings every two to four days to insure the roots and sphagnum moss packing material remain moist.
Prepare site for planting. Favorable seedling sites have high soil moisture levels; little competing vegetation; and soil with high organic matter, proper Ph, good aeration or texture, and good moisture retention. On most planting sites, water is the greatest limiting factor to survival.

Do not expose seedlings to direct sun and air during handling and preparation for planting. Only take the seedlings that can be planted in one day to the site. Use a hydroscopic root dip on seedlings – do not let seedling sit in dip, and do not shake the dip off roots. Then wrap roots in wet burlap. This will help protect roots from heat and drying.

Plant in early spring for high soil moisture levels and cool temperatures. The ideal temperature range to plant is 33 to 50 degrees. If it is warmer than 60 degrees or becomes windy, it is best to stop planting and wait for conditions to improve. A planting bar works well for digging narrow, deep holes. Each planting hole must be large enough to accommodate the root system in a natural form. Place the seedling in the hole spreading the roots downward and horizontally. Do not bunch roots at the bottom of the hole or fold them so that the roots ends are directed toward the surface. Incorrect planting depth is another cause of poor seedling survival. The root collar (soil surface line when the seedling was in the nursery beds) must be located at the soil surface when finished. After backfilling the hole with planting bar, check for correct root collar depth.

Fertilizer use on first-year seedlings is generally not recommended. After the first year, small applications of slow-release fertilizers with equal parts nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus will aid plant growth. Follow recommended rates carefully.
Give each seedling one to two gallons of water immediately after planting. Regular irrigation for the first two to three years can increase survival and greatly increase growth rates. Periodic deep watering is better than frequent light watering. Irrigate each plant with one to two gallons of water every one to two weeks during the summer. Gradually reduce irrigation in late summer to allow the seedlings to harden off for winter. Do not water if the ground is frozen.
Woven weed fabric is the best mulch for seedlings. It controls all weeds, reduces evaporation from the soil around the roots, and allows water and air to pass through. Other good mulch materials are wood chips; bark chips, straw, and composted sawdust. Mulch should be no deeper than three inches. Grass clippings seem to attract rodents and are not recommended.

  • Restrict access to seedlings or apply repellents to control deer browse. Rigid net-like tubes are available from many reforestation suppliers. These are effective at discouraging browse of the terminal bud, but require annual maintenance.
  • Repellants have given variable and on consistent results but there are several that appear to be effective with several applications per year. Rodent damage to stems will increase if weeds are not controlled around the base of seedlings.
  • Shallow, clean cultivation around the seedlings will discourage rodents.

Other general planting tips:

  • Select good microsites for the seedlings.
  • Plant on the north and east side of downed logs or stumps to shade the seedling, especially on south-facing slopes.
  • Avoid areas of dense sod.
  • Dig holes the same day you plant so the holes do not dry out.
  • Don’t put water in the planting holes immediately prior to planting to avoid excessive compaction.
  • Remove all weeds and grass from an 18-inch area around each planting hole.
  • If using a mechanical tree planter, have someone follow behind to adjust root-collar depth and tamp out air pockets.
  • Woven weed fabric is recommended to conserving water around the plant roots and controlling weeds. Studies have shown that weed fabric greatly increases survival and growth rates even over supplemental irrigation.

Common causes of seedling mortality during handling and planting:

  • Improper storage of seedlings, especially exposure to high temperatures or drying.
  • Planting when weather conditions are too hot or windy.
  • Roots drying during planting.
  • Roots j-rooted in the planting hole.
  • Seedlings planted to the wrong depth.
  • Air pockets left in planting hole or soil over-compacted.
  • Planting too late in the spring.


Information provided by NJ Tree Nursery 370 East Veterans Hwy Jackson, NJ 08527 (732) 928-0029 New Jersey Tree Nursery NJ Forest Service Division of Parks and Forestry Department of Environmental Protection