NJ: Final Vote On Jersey City Pot Plan Expected

Photo Credit: Paul J. Richards

The City Council is expected to vote for a final time Wednesday on Mayor Steve Fulop’s plan to ban recreational marijuana sales citywide.

Fulop, a supporter of legalized marijuana, has said the initial ban would be part of a two-pronged effort to allow the city to decide where marijuana dispensaries should open. But the proposal, which would also prohibit growing and distributing pot, has been met with skepticism from some council members and outright opposition from legalization supporters.

The ACLU of New Jersey is urging people to attend the meeting and tell council members to vote the plan down. It was already narrowly defeated by the Planning Board and sources tell The Jersey Journal they expect the council to defeat the measure too.

Gov. Phil Murphy has pledged to legalize recreational marijuana, though his plans have been met with enough opposition from his fellow Democrats that it’s unclear when a bill would have the support needed to pass the state Legislature.

Proposed legislation would allow anywhere from two to 10 licensed dispensaries in each legislative district (Jersey City is located in two districts).

Fulop has said if the council approves a citywide ban, the city would elicit thoughts from residents about where they want the marijuana industry located and where they don’t. One supporter of the plan is Ward D Councilman Michael Yun, a frequent critic of Fulop initiatives.

“I am supporting this ordinance as a proactive approach to address the state’s pending legalization so that cannabis businesses do not begin popping up across the city without community input,” Yun told The Jersey Journal. “It seems like a reasonable approach while we give greater consideration to the where, when and how, or even if we want recreational use of marijuana in Jersey City.”

The council may also hear an earful from Lillian Bustle, the burlesque performer whose March 28 show at Newark Avenue venue FM was canceled after a city attorney sent a letter to FM’s owners saying Bustle’s planned performance may violate the local obscenity law. Bustle’s story became a local cause célèbre and led to the city saying it will revise the law, which dates to 1982. She has said she plans to address the council tomorrow night.

The council meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 280 Grove St.