JACKSON – Jackson Township Council members passed an ordinance banning all types of cannabis businesses from operating in the community.
Following a public hearing during the Governing Body meeting on June 29, Council President Andrew Kern, Vice President Martin Flemming, Councilor Nino Borrelli and Councilor Stephen Chisholm all voted “yes” to a motion to adopt the regulation.
Councilor Alexander Sauickie was not present at the meeting.
In a public question in November 2020, New Jersey residents voted in favor of legalizing adult cannabis use (also known as recreational use). In Ocean County, 190,204 residents voted “yes” and 126,469 residents voted “no” on legalization.
After the referendum, state lawmakers took steps to end the process of legalizing cannabis.
Local government officials in any Garden State parish now have the ability to prohibit or allow the production and / or sale of cannabis by licensed operators within their borders. The community officials must make a decision by August 21st.
According to the Jackson Regulation, the purpose of the bill was to “regulate the market class of licensed recreational cannabis companies and codify a ban on all six market classes of cannabis companies … cannabis growers, cannabis manufacturers, cannabis wholesalers, cannabis retailers, cannabis distributors and cannabis delivery services . “
According to the law, Jackson officials are not allowed to prohibit the delivery of cannabis and related goods in the community by a delivery service based outside the community.
During the public hearing Hugh Giordano, a representative / organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 152 based in Egg Harbor Township, expressed the union’s opposition to the ordinance and certain comments made by councilors when the ordinance was introduced a few weeks earlier.
“We are a national union of 1.3 million hard working families and we are the official union representing cannabis workers from seeds to sales, for both medicinal and adult (cannabis) use.
“We are against this regulation. This is an attack on good jobs; this is an attack on living wage jobs; Occupations Associated with Healthcare, Illness, Vacation, Dentist, Eyesight, and Retirement (benefits). These are adult jobs and not (part-time jobs), ”said Giordano.
“One plant, one (cannabis) cultivation site can create up to 100 jobs, full-time jobs. In addition, when you ban this type of business, you open the door to other people to sell things.
“The gateway drug is the drug dealer, the gateway drug is the person who pushes other things on young people. Saying adult use (cannabis business) and / or a medical establishment (marijuana) in Jackson is the same as saying if you have a bar, one of those hard working people will get you a 12 pack of beer to someone , that’s not the reality, ”said Giordano.
The union representative said Jackson officials would not have to allow cannabis retail. He said, “This is a community of workers who are using their hands. Cultivation, manufacture, storage; You could have other options outside of retail that don’t interact with shopping, and you could still get tax breaks and create good jobs. “
He said comments made by city officials during an earlier meeting created a “fear factor” about the issue at hand.
Giordano said when the Jackson councilors want a conservative example when it comes to cannabis operations, they could look to Bayonne in northern New Jersey.
He said in that ward officials “set application fees and renewal fees; They also determined what they will allow and how many plants of each species they will allow.
“In addition, they have a performance-based application system, so as a council member you are not responsible for choosing winners and losers.
”… So you have power; saying that you have no power and saying that there is the unknown and saying that (cannabis) is going to get into the hands of children are all types of myths debunked, ”said Giordano.
Following Giordano’s remarks, Kern said the Jackson Council planned to pass the cannabis regulation because if they don’t do something, they “can’t do anything for five years”.
Regarding the claim that cannabis companies could create jobs in the community, Kern said, “We have companies in town that are hiring more than 100 people at this point.”