JACKSON – One of the first orders of business during the most recent meeting of the Township Council was the passage of an ordinance prohibiting the operation of any class of recreational cannabis business within the community.
Councilman Nino Borrelli said of ordinance 13-21, “if we do not pass an ordinance by August 22, marijuana businesses could start popping up potentially near residential neighborhoods. We are being proactive on this issue.
“Let’s see how other New Jersey municipalities fare with recreational marijuana businesses. I believe this will protect our quality of life in the town,” Borrelli added.
Councilman Steven Chisholm added his support to the ordinance which was later passed unanimously by the governing body.
Council Vice President Martin Flemming said of the ordinance, “I’d like to back up Councilman Borrelli. I have read many posts on social media saying that we missed the boat, that we will be missing out on a lot of taxes, but I am in total agreement that there are just too many unknowns and I’d like to see someone else’s mistakes. We can learn from their mistakes and we can possibly move forward in the future.”
Hugh Giordano, who speaks for the United Food Commercial Workers Union, UFCW a national labor union that represents cannabis workers from seed to sale adult use, attended the meeting. “We oppose this ordinance. This is an attack on good jobs, an attack on living wage jobs. Jobs that come with health care, sick time and vacation, dental, vision, retirement. These are adult jobs.”
Giordano urged the council to review an ordinance from Bayonne which outlined regulations he said would make the community feel more comfortable in allowing cannabis sales. “One cultivation site can create up to 100 full time jobs. When you prohibit this, you open the door up to other folks to sell things. The gateway drug, is the drug dealer.”
“We deal in regulated industries. You could have other opportunities outside of retail (for cannabis) with no interaction or purchasing anything. You’ll still get tax credits and create good jobs. To say there are unknowns – there are 20 dispensary sites, cultivation sites up and running and many states have already legalized adult use and the sky is not falling down,” he added.
Council President Andrew Kern said “those facilities that he spoke about are not set up under the potential regulations. Right now if we don’t pass this ordinance we can’t do anything for five years which is why we are doing this now to see how things come out. Also with the 100 jobs – we have businesses in the town right now that are looking for workers.”
Contracts And Grants
The governing body also introduced an ordinance amending township code concerning housing standards, resale, compliance and a reinspection fee. A public hearing on this ordinance will be held on July 13.
Resolutions included a professional engineering service contract with Colliers Engineering and Design for public web mapping concerning park needs. It also includes an assessment and analysis for an open space acquisition strategy in the total amount of $47,800.
The township is also submitting a grant application and grant contract with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for the NJDOT Municipal Aid program for road improvements to North Carolina Drive.
Fireworks And Food Trucks
Councilman Borrelli reminded the council about the July 10 Food Truck and Fireworks event to be held at Johnson Park. “Come out and enjoy the food trucks and fireworks from 3 to 9 p.m. It is free and there will be live music at the event. More information about it can be found on the Jackson Township website.”
Noting that Independence Day was a few days away at the time, Councilman Chisholm said, “I hope you will tell your kids the real reason why we have this freedom which is often overlooked unfortunately, whether it is intentional or accidental that it is not being taught properly to our children today.”
“While I feel there is nothing wrong with celebrating with picnics and spending time with families, enjoying pools and barbeques and obviously the illuminations are fantastic as Councilman Borrelli said, so please come out and join us on July 10. Celebrate America however just make sure you are teaching your kids. Pass that on. Our freedom is not something we transmit to our children through their blood stream as (President) Ronald Reagan once said. It has to be taught to each successive generation. God Bless America,” Chisholm added.