Oceanport and West Long Branch are two more Shore towns planning to ban marijuana dispensaries, if and when weed is legalized in New Jersey.
Oceanport Councilman Joseph Irace said his borough doesn’t have much of a business district, but the council doesn’t want to be among the first towns to join what he said is still “an experiment in legalizing marijuana.”
“I understand some cities are welcoming it. Cities like Jersey City and Asbury Park have more established business districts. We don’t have a business district where this would fit in,” said Irace.
Gov. Phil Murphy wants to legalize recreational weed and tax it by as much as 25 percent, which is mentioned in the above video. Murphy wants to use some of the revenue for free tuition at community colleges.
The state Legislature still has to craft and pass a bill before Murphy can open the New Jersey market to marijuana.
Oceanport’s Borough Council will start working at its March 1 workshop meeting on a zoning ordinance modeled on one created by Point Pleasant Beach, Irace said.
In December, Point Pleasant Beach approved a full ban on marijuana sales, including both medical marijuana dispensaries and any retail business looking to sell weed.
West Long Branch is also moving to ban the sale of marijuana. Mayor Janet Tucci said a committee will begin a review of an ordinance shortly.
“We will be supporting the Freeholders resolution,” said Tucci, referring to a resolution the Board of Chosen Freeholders approved in January against legalizing recreational weed.
Berkeley, Lavallette, Middletown and Seaside Heights are also proposing bans.
Irace said the Oceanport council also wants to keep dispensaries from opening on the former site of Fort Monmouth, which is being redeveloped.
“We don’t necessarily control Fort Monmouth, but this would at least give us some teeth if someone were to come in with a proposal,” said Irace.
The redevelopment of the former U.S. Army fort is handled by a state-run agency called the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority. The borough does have a seat on that board.