Council tables change in cannabis rules

WEST MILFORD. Proposal would have reduced the number of permitted retail dispensaries from 10 to five.

| 24 Apr 2024 | 04:34

The Township Council unanimously voted to table a proposal to reduce the number of cannabis retail licenses at its meeting April 17.

Ten licenses have been approved, and four retailers have opened in West Milford.

Councilman Matthew Conlon pointed out that the proposal to reduce the total to five cannabis retail licenses would not affect the original 10 businesses whose license applications have been endorsed by the council.

Only if one of those 10 closed would the number of permissible licenses be reduced.

“It merely allows the market to dictate how many businesses the municipality can support and also takes into consideration the feedback and commentary from residents about their concerns about what kinds of businesses we have in our town,” he said.

Councilman Michael Chazukow called the proposal premature.

He noted that 21 retail liquor businesses are permitted in West Milford, including 19 where customers can consume alcohol before driving home.

”Regarding the number, I think 10 is just fine. However, I do agree that there’s an issue with the amount of dispensaries in the township” if the unlicensed cannabis distributors are included, Chazukow said.

He favors strict enforcement of cannabis laws against unlicensed distributors.

“I think it would be a horrible travesty of justice if we were to punish the compliant operators and allow the noncompliant operators to continue doing their work and poaching revenue from the municipality and the compliant operators.”

State law allows municipalities to collect as taxes up to 2 percent of the total sales of recreational cannabis.