TOMS RIVER – At least one councilman and a resident spoke about bringing the marijuana ban back to the table at the most recent Township Council meeting.
The ordinance to ban the sale of recreational marijuana was introduced earlier this year. At that time, Councilwoman Laurie Huryk abstained from the vote because she had some legal concerns about it. The rest of the council voted to introduce the ban.
An ordinance must be introduced in one meeting, and then finalized at another meeting after public comment. When it came time to do so, the council members voted unanimously to table it until further information could be obtained.
At that meeting, there were several people speaking out against the ban, and some were from other towns.
At a Township Council meeting after this, resident Bill McPhail criticized the council for bending to out-of-towners. He doesn’t want to see the drug, or the people who would come to buy the drug, in town.
Huryk explained that there is research that the legalization of marijuana can reduce the death rate from opiates. With information out there like this, the Council needs to consider all pertinent information before making a decision.
Additionally, since the state has not yet made it legal to buy marijuana, any ordinance the township writes might not be appropriate. The state law might make the township one meaningless.
“It would have just been a political statement,” she said.
Councilman George Wittmann was absent from the meeting when the ban was tabled, and he said he wished he had been there. The ordinance that Toms River would have enacted was approved by the township attorney, so he had more confidence that it would have been upheld.
He asked for the council to reconsider the ban in a future meeting.