Jamesburg approves ban on medicinal, recreational marijuana businesses

BY Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | MonroeNow |Sep 28, 2018

JAMESBURG – When it comes to marijuana, the borough council has taken up the anti-drug slogan “just say no.”

The council approved an amendment to its Land Development and Zoning ordinance this month that would ban the sale, distribution, cultivation, manufacture or dispensing of medical or recreational marijuana within the borders of the 0.9-square mile borough.

Adopting the amendment means that even if a Jamesburg-based business wanted to be considered for a medical marijuana dispensary, it would likely be denied since the borough code bans the practice.

Borough Administrator Scott Frueh said the decision was made because of safety concerns.

“It’s a safety concern for even for people on medical marijuana. There is a concern for citizens who may drive under the influence,” he said. “And there is no test for marijuana,” as compared to what is in place for testing of potentially drunk drivers.

He added: “I think the concern is also that you start off with marijuana and then move up to the next step or have another problem.”

The state Legislature has yet to make a final ruling on the use of recreational marijuana, but has allowed a limited number of medical dispensaries to operate. Cranbury has one of those licenses.

“It didn’t seem like a good fit for the borough,” he said. “We’re a small and diverse community, and we want to make sure that the people in the town are safe from accidents. That’s our major concern.”

While debate about recreational use continues in Trenton, interest in medicinal marijuana remains strong. On Sept. 5, Governor Murphy announced that 146 applications were received from 106 organizations to operate a medical marijuana business.

“By expanding Alternative Treatment Center locations in New Jersey, we are putting patients first and ensuring more convenient access to medical marijuana,” said Governor Murphy.

According to the governor’s office, 45 of those applications were from the Central Jersey region. The state is restricting the number of new dispensaries to six.

“Program participation has surpassed 30,000 individuals as a result of reforms already made, and we expect that number to keep growing,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal earlier this month. “We need more Alternative Treatment Centers to keep pace with the demand for a therapy that has been unjustly restricted for so long.”