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Should New Jersey Municipalities Opt out of the Marijuana Business?

In advance of the anticipated state legalization of recreational adult use marijuana, several North Jersey municipalities plan to adopt ordinances banning all marijuana businesses from operating within their borders. The recreational adult use marijuana bills currently being debated, which could be signed into law as early as this fall, empower local governments to decide whether they want to allow marijuana businesses to operate in their communities. The reasons given by mayors and town councils for banning marijuana businesses range from the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, to the desires to protect children from using marijuana and maintain a family-oriented town. The new marijuana laws enacted in other states, such as Colorado and California, also allow local governments to ban such businesses. For more information on that, click here.

Despite the fact that towns can ban marijuana businesses, an issue has arisen in California as to whether marijuana businesses legally operating in towns that have embraced the industry can deliver marijuana products to adult residents of towns that have banned marijuana businesses. It appears that California state regulators have decided the answer is yes; a licensed marijuana delivery can be made to “any jurisdiction within the state.” For more information on this, click here.

So, if deliveries can still be made to residents in banned towns, then why would a town institute a ban in the first place? Towns certainly do not want to lose out on collecting tax ratables because residents in favor of marijuana businesses are ordering the product from towns that have embraced the industry. California dry towns like Fresno are currently debating that very question. Perhaps before adopting marijuana bans, local government officials should poll their residents on their interest in allowing such businesses. Of course, many adults may offer the ”holier than thou” opinion in the public forum, but be interested users, thereby making the polling inaccurate.

How will this delivery issue and local rule ultimately be handled in New Jersey?

If you have any questions about this post or any other related matters, please contact me at wjbeneduce@norris-law.com.