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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
- 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|
|TBA||Board of Health|
The subcommittee meets weekly to share and discuss research and will make a recommendation to the Council in June.