New Jersey Marijuana Legalization: Middletown Rolls Out Weed Law Tonight

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The path toward a ban in Middletown on all things related to the business of legal marijuana will begin at tonight’s township committee meeting.

As first reported by the Asbury Park Press last week, committee members are contemplating language that would prohibit the growth, sale and processing of cannabis within township borders. Medical marijuana dispensaries are also given consideration.

That ordinance has been written and will be introduced at the 8 p.m. council meeting in the municipal courtroom inside town hall, 1 Kings Highway.

During his successful campaign, Gov. Phil Murphy — who lives in Middletown — pledged to legalize marijuana within his first 100 days in office.

Even if he meets that deadline, it could be a while before folks can legally partake. Watch the video above for five key questions on legalization in New Jersey.

Taxes from sales of the drug would fund some of his boldest promises, including free community college for New Jerseyans, and allow law enforcement to focus more acutely on addictive and destructive drugs and violent crime, then-candidate Murphy said.

But local leaders, like those in Middletown, worry that their cut of the windfall from cannabis sales won’t translate into any meaningful budget relief at the sub-state level.

“Helping the state spend money in other areas while providing no real incentives to help lower property taxes in a meaningful way to Middletown taxpayers is something that I nor any of my colleagues are interested in being a party to,” committeeman Tony Fiore told the Press last week.

As a result, the committee, which is all-Republican, intends to introduce an ordinance that would ban “certain business uses associated with the growth, production and sale of recreational marijuana within the township of Middletown and establishing minimal conditional use standards for medical marijuana related facilities,” according to tonight’s agenda.

Fiore said the ordinance wouldn’t be voted on until the committee had a more definitive understanding of what exactly is in the state’s legal weed plan. It’s possible no action would be taken on the bill if the legislation coming out of Trenton is more amenable to Middletown’s interests.