Boonton NJ council approves retail, wholesale cannabis sales

BOONTON — Legal cannabis sales – retail and wholesale – are coming to town.

The town council voted, 7-1, Monday to approve those select operations, restricting them to the commercial zone along Myrtle Avenue (Route 202).

Council members approved the ordinance after a brief public discussion in which about six of the 40 people in attendance voiced their opinions about the measure.

Some were against retail sales and urged the council to keep the operations away from schools and children.

“Main Street is no place to be selling cannabis,” said one woman, who labeled marijuana as a “gateway drug.”

Resident Amy De Palma said she supports the ordinance and talked of how cannabis helped her mother during her illness. “The only thing that is helping her is edibles.”

The approval bucks a trend of many municipalities acting to ban cannabis operations, at least temporarily, after Gov. Phil Murphy signed the legal recreational marijuana bill into law in June. The Legislature passed the laws after New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved legal cannabis by referendum in the November 2020 election.

Mayor Richard Corcoran, right, and Boonton council members hear from the public before voting 7-1 in favor of approving retail and wholesale cannabis operations in town. July 19, 2021.

Local governments have until Aug. 21 to similarly “opt-out” of state-approved cannabis operations or be required to accept them within their borders for at least five years. The municipalities that ban it, can reverse course and opt-in at any time.

New Jersey has formed a commission to establish specific regulations for cannabis sales beyond the creation of six business categories: growing, manufacturing, wholesaling, distribution, retail sales and deliveries.

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