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Long Branch introduces zoning rules, taxes to sell cannabis in the city

cannabis buds

LONG BRANCH - The mayor and council have introduced zoning rules for cannabis businesses within city limits. 

The rules, if adopted, will limit the areas in the city where cannabis businesses can set up shop, and set the available licenses to one each for each of the six marketplace classes of cannabis businesses allowed by state law. It will also create a 2% sales tax on retail sales and a 1% sales tax on wholesale sales. 

The licenses are for a cannabis cultivator, manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer, and delivery — which includes home delivery.  

New Jersey voters approved recreational cannabis use in the 2020 election, and in February Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that legalized the drug for use for adults 21 years and older. 

 

Municipalities then had until Aug. 22 to ban cannabis businesses within their borders if they so chose. While many towns in Monmouth and Ocean Counties did, Long Branch did not pass any bans.

The city will permit all six marketplace licenses in both its Industrial and Manufacturer & Business district zones, of which there are several such districts. 

In several other zones, it will allow only retail stores.  

In the Transit Village District near the train station, the city will allow a retail store with consumption. In the West End, Neighborhood Commercial and Broadway districts, the city will allow a retail store without an area for consumption.

See the zone map attached to this story for the locations of the districts. 

Cannabis businesses will be prohibited from residential neighborhoods, at the beachfront, and from within 1,000 feet of a school, park or house of worship. Cannabis use, such as smoking or vaping, will be prohibited in all public places such as streets, parks, the boardwalk and beaches. 

The city council voted unanimously to introduce the rules and will hold the public hearing and vote on Nov. 23. No members of the public commented at Wednesday's regular meeting when the rules were introduced. 

 

Legal weed timeline

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission will officially begin accepting applications for marijuana cultivation centers, manufacturers and testing laboratories on Dec. 15. The commission will begin accepting applications for recreational marijuana dispensaries on March 15.  Applications for marijuana distributors, wholesalers, delivery companies or medical marijuana dispensaries looking to convert to recreational sales will not be accepted until a later date.

 

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