There Are Now 50 New Jersey Towns Who Banned Weed Ahead of Impending Legalization

The list of more than 50 towns that have passed resolutions against the cannabis industry represents nearly every county in New Jersey.
New Jersey Faces Medical Marijuana Shortages as Program Expands
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Late last month, New Jersey lawmakers in both the Assembly and Senate voted to advance a bill legalizing adult use cannabis and establishing a retail industry in the state. The vote to advance S2703 out of committee represents the first official legislative action on adult-use cannabis since pro-legalization Gov. Phil Murphy assumed office in January. But the lengthy and contentious public hearing that preceded the vote highlighted the breadth of opposition to the specifics of the bill, if not legalization in general.

Although far from its final version and still very much up for major changes, the bill’s advancement signaled that New Jersey is well on the path toward a regulated and taxed adult-use cannabis industry. Yet while state lawmakers work to craft a legal framework, dozens of New Jersey towns have quietly passed resolutions banning the industry.

Dozens of New Jersey Towns Have Already Banned the Cannabis Industry

Since their 2016 takeover, New Jersey Democrats have expanded qualifying conditions for medical cannabis treatments and licensed more dispensaries. And they’ve made criminal justice reform a centerpiece of their legalization campaign. Additionally, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has instructed prosecutors to adjourn all marijuana-related cases until the attorney general’s office can prepare new directives to help decriminalize cannabis in the courtroom.

Opposition to an adult-use industry, however, has been implacable. And even before Gov. Murphy was elected to office on a platform that included drug reform, New Jersey towns were passing resolutions against the industry. Point Pleasant Beach, for example, passed its resolution banning cannabis businesses on December 19, 2017.

Not every resolution is the same. The vast majority ban industry operations only, meaning they won’t allow cultivation, production, distribution or retail businesses. Some are non-binding, others will require another vote to change. A few towns have passed resolutions opposing legalization without banning weed businesses. While towns have the authority to restrict or ban industry operations, they won’t be able to prevent of-age individuals from possessing cannabis and consuming it privately.

These New Jersey Towns Have Passed Resolutions Against the Cannabis Industry

At least 10 percent of all New Jersey towns, representing nearly every county, have passed resolutions restricting, banning, or opposing cannabis industry operations and adult-use legalization. Furthermore, election results from the 2018 midterm elections seem to have no relationship to the bans. Bergen County, for example, went strongly for the state’s Democrat candidates. Yet more Bergen County towns have banned industry operations than any other county. Taken together, the bans will affect hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents if the state legalizes weed.

  • Ocean County
    • Barnegat
    • Berkeley
    • Point Pleasant Beach
    • Surf City
  • Cumberland County
    • Bridgeton
  • Bergen County
    • Elmwood Park
    • Emerson
    • Franklin Lakes
    • Garfield
    • Hasbrouck Heights
    • Lodi
    • Mahwah
    • Midland Park
    • Oakland
    • Old Tappan
    • Palisades Park
    • Ramsey
    • Ridgewood
    • Saddle Brook
    • Upper Saddle River
    • Westwood
    • Woodcliff Lake
    • Wyckoff Township
  • Somerset County
    • Bridgewater
    • Manville
  • Atlantic County
    • Brigantine
    • Pleasantville
  • Morris County
    • Chatham Township
    • Parsippany-Troy Hills
  • Passaic County
    • Clifton
    • Hawthorne
    • North Haledon
    • Wayne
  • Middlesex County
    • Cranbury
    • Old Bridge
    • Spotswood
  • Monmouth County
    • Fair Haven
    • Freehold
    • Hazlet
    • Oceanport
    • Sea Girt
    • Shrewsbury
    • Upper Freehold
    • Wall
    • West Long Branch
  • Essex
    • North Caldwell
    • West Caldwell
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