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Survey seeks input of N.J. mayors on legal cannabis implementation

By David Wildstein, December 30 2020 8:34 am

The New Jersey League of Municipalities and the Cannabis Advisory Group has developed a survey for New Jersey mayors in advance of Gov. Phil Murphy signing a bill that created a legal marijuana industry in the state.

“The purpose of this survey is to identify the most pressing challenges and concerns facing their communities in preparation for the sale of both medical and adult-use cannabis and help inform and guide our work with the State Cannabis Regulatory Commission,” said Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach, the president of the league.

The NJLM, the lobbying arm of municipal governments, will use the data gathered from the survey to support local government facing opportunities for cannabis businesses to operate.

Among the survey topics: will municipalities opt-in or opt-out of imposing a transfer for user tax; about the 180-day period where municipalities must enact ordinances establishing penalties, or even barring cannabis cultivation, processing, and wholesale and retail sales; and whether cannabis licenses should be issued near certain facilities, including dare care and religious facilities.

“It’s an exciting new landscape in New Jersey, but marijuana legalization also poses a lot of unknowns, particularly on the local level,” said Jacqueline Ferraro, the Cannabis Advisory Group director. “To help ensure the industry’s success, we felt it was important to gather a comprehensive understanding of the concerns, questions and predispositions of our municipalities. By teaming up with the League, we hope to help policymakers, entrepreneurs and community members strategically address those issues that are most pressing as legalization moves forward.

Kovach said the goal of the League of Municipalities “is to hear from all of our communities on the impact of recreational cannabis – especially what they want to see from the League and the Advisory Group as resources.”

“We are a diverse state of 565 municipalities and there is no one size fits all,” she said.  “This survey will help guide the tools that need to be made available for informed decisions.”

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