No place for recreational marijuana sales in Cranbury

Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2, Mar 15, 2018 | MonroeNow 

CRANBURY – The township committee approved legislation to ban the sale of recreational marijuana within the community at Monday night’s public meeting.

The ban did not come as a surprise since committee members previously objected to possible changes in state law allowing recreational sale of the drug.

“I am happy that it passed,” Mayor Glenn Johnson said. “I think we don’t know enough yet that legalization is a smart move. I would prefer it not be legalized. But, if they do legalize it, they should allow it to go the Colorado route.”

The adopted legislation says recreational marijuana has correctly been prohibited under federal law and that it “will have significant deleterious consequences to the quality of life, as well as the health, safety and welfare of township residents.”

Several municipalities in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties have either banned or stated opposition to recreational marijuana retail. One of New Jersey’s largest cities, Jersey City, said it would support recreational sales.

Related: Cranbury mayor talks marijuana after speaking at hearing in Trenton

But, determining if the anti-recreational sales laws will be legal rest with the state Legislature. There are proposals floating around Statehouse chambers to regulate recreational sales. One would raise the legal age limit to 21 for recreational use. The “Colorado route” that Johnson suggested would allow individual municipalities to determine if they want to allow the sale of recreational marijuana.

Though support in Trenton has been mixed, Governor Murphy’s proposed budget would impose a 25 percent tax on marijuana plus the sales tax, which if it is increased to 7 percent would amount to a 32 percent tax on the drug.

The Cranbury ordinance, does however, reaffirm the township’s commitment to allowing medical marijuana sales to continue. The township is one of the select few municipalities that has a medical marijuana dispensary.

In a previous interview with MonroeNow, Johnson said he understands the need for medical marijuana.

“I have complete sympathy for people who need the stuff,” Johnson said.