Ordinance No. 21-25

Introduced: August 9, 2021
Public Hearing: September 13, 2021
Status: Adopted

Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending and Supplementing Chapter 330 Entitled “Land Development” to Permit Retail Sales of Legalized Cannabis.

Note: Strikeouts are deletions. Underlines are added material.

WHEREAS, in 2020 New Jersey voters approved Public Question No. 1, which amended the New Jersey Constitution to allow for the legalization of a controlled form of marijuana called “cannabis” for adults at least 21 years of age; and

WHEREAS, on February 22, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law P.L. 2021, c. 16, known as the “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act” (“Act”), which legalizes the recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 years of age or older, and establishes a comprehensive regulatory and licensing scheme for commercial recreational (adult use) cannabis operations, use, and possession; and

WHEREAS, the Act establishes six (6) marketplace classes of licensed businesses, including:

  • Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator License, for facilities involved in growing and cultivating cannabis;
  • Class 2 Cannabis Manufacturer License, for facilities involved in the manufacturing, preparation, and packaging of cannabis items;
  • Class 3 Cannabis Wholesaler License, for facilities involved in obtaining and selling cannabis items for later resale by other licensees;
  • Class 4 Cannabis Distributer License, for businesses involved in transporting cannabis plants in bulk from one licensed cultivator to another licensed cultivator, or cannabis items in bulk from any type of licensed cannabis business to another;
  • Class 5 Cannabis Retailer License, for locations at which cannabis items and related supplies are sold to consumers; and
  • Class 6 Cannabis Delivery License, for businesses providing courier services for consumer purchases that are fulfilled by a licensed cannabis retailer in order to make deliveries of the purchased items to a consumer, and which service would include the ability of a consumer to make a purchase directly through the cannabis delivery service which would be presented by the delivery service for fulfillment by a retailer and then delivered to a consumer.

WHEREAS, section 31a of the Act authorizes municipalities, by ordinance, to adopt regulations governing the number of cannabis establishments (defined in section 3 of the Act as “a cannabis cultivator, a cannabis manufacturer, a cannabis wholesaler, or a cannabis retailer”), cannabis distributors, or cannabis delivery services allowed to operate within their boundaries, as well as the location manner and times operation of such establishments, distributors or delivery services, and establishing civil penalties for the violation of any such regulations; and

WHEREAS, section 31b of the Act authorizes municipalities by ordinance to prohibit the operation of any one or more classes of cannabis establishments, distributors, or delivery services anywhere in the municipality; and

WHEREAS, on July 26, 2021, the Township Council of the Township of Vernon passed ordinance No. 21-16 which, in part, prohibited the operation of Cannabis Retailers in the Township of Vernon (“Township”); and

WHEREAS, upon further review, a determination has been made that it would be advantageous to allow some Cannabis Retailers in the Township with proper regulations. Cannabis Cultivation is a viable and valuable commercial enterprise that should be promoted within the Township of Vernon.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, and State of New Jersey, as follows:

SECTION 1
§ 330-160 “Schedule of Permitted, Conditional and Accessory Uses and Structures” and “SCHEDULE A Permitted, Conditional and Accessory Uses and Structures” shall be amended and revised as follows:

Cannabis Retailer shall be a prohibited use and not permitted in any zones within the Township of Vernon.

Cannabis Retailers within the Township of Vernon. Cannabis Retailer shall be a conditional use in all commercial and retail zones and subject to the regulations outlined in § 330-186.

Medical cannabis dispensaries as defined by N.J.S.A. 24:6I-3 within Township of Vernon. Medical cannabis dispensaries shall be a conditional use in all commercial and retail zones.

There shall be no more than three (3) in total of the following within the Township of Vernon:
(a) Cannabis Retailers
(b) Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

SECTION 2
§ 330-136. (Reserved) Regulations for Cannabis Retailers.

  1. Eligible Locations: Facilities for Cannabis Retailers shall be no less than 2000 feet from any school, public park, public ball field, child care center, or the Vernon PAL facility.
  2. Location: Cannabis Retailers shall be separate and distinct from growing operations.
  3. Buildings: All Cannabis Retailers shall be enclosed in heated/air-conditioned permanent buildings, not trailers, outdoors, movable kiosks, etc.
  4. Signage: Signs shall be limited to location identification/name of business. Signage shall not promote consumption of any cannabis products.
  5. Site Plan Approval: When seeking site plan approval, the Applicant for Cannabis Retailers shall submit a safety and security plan and emergency services access plan.
  6. Application Requirements: Cannabis Retailers shall submit an application to the Township of Vernon that shall include a community outreach plan, a business plan, a security plan, and a plan for preventing underage persons from entering the business.
  7. Accessibility: Any Cannabis Retailer shall only have one primary public access point, which shall be directly adjacent to the right-of-way or parking area of the building. Access should not be through common entrances with other uses.
  8. Hours of Operation for Cannabis Retailers shall be limited to 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  9. Interior Security: Cannabis Retailers interiors shall provide a secure location for storage of products with minimum products in any customer service area.
  10. Exterior Loitering and Security: People shall not be permitted to congregate outside of a Cannabis Retailer, loiter or wait in line to access the Cannabis Retailer. The facility shall have a plan in place if interior capacity is exceeded, i.e., numbers are given and customers wait in their vehicles until called.
  11. Product Consumption: No products shall be permitted to be consumed on-site.
  12. State License: The facility must have a valid license to operate from the State of New Jersey.
  13. A total of 15% of the funds received from the 2% tax on the gross sales of Retail Cannabis Sales Stores will be designated for training and equipment for Vernon Township Police Officers, Drug Recognition Experts and their associated costs, and substance abuse educational programs.
  14. A total of 10% of the funds received from the 2% tax on the gross sales of Retail Cannabis Sales Stores will be designated for the Municipal Zoning Department for administration and enforcement purposes.
  15. Any cannabis facility is subject to compliance with all State laws, regulations and guidelines with respect to cannabis licenses issued by the State of NJ.

SECTION 3
Each section of this ordinance is an independent section, and the holding of any section or part thereof to be unconstitutional, void or ineffective for any cause shall not be deemed to affect the validity of constitutionality of any other sections or parts thereof.

SECTION 4
Any ordinances or parts thereof in conflict with the provisions of this Ordinance are hereby repealed as to their inconsistencies only.

SECTION 5
This Ordinance shall take effect upon final passage and publication as provided by law, however subsequent to the first reading, this ordinance must be referred to the Township Land Use Board for review, which shall be based on whether the ordinance is substantially consistent with the Master Plan. The Land Use Board has a period of thirty-five (35) days after referral to report on the proposed ordinance. The Township Clerk is further directed to give notice at least ten (10) calendar days prior to the hearing on the adoption of this Ordinance to the County Planning Board and to all others entitled pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-15. Upon the adoption of this Ordinance, after public hearing, the Township Clerk is further directed to publish notice of the passage and to file a copy of this Ordinance, as finally adopted, with the Sussex County Planning Board, as required by N.J.S.A. 40:55D-16.

Note: Strikeouts are deletions. Underlines are added material.