Are towns banning the sale of marijuana missing out on much-needed revenue?

Yet another New Jersey town is moving to ban the sale of recreational marijuana. The Brick Township City Council proposed a ban on Tuesday.
Brick Township is no stranger to marijuana controversy. The township blocked a dispensary from setting up shop in a former bank in 2018. And even with an economic incentive in the new legislation, there are still some places in the state that do not want marijuana sales in town.
The Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance and Modernization Act gave municipalities 180 days after the legalization of cannabis to decide if sales would be allowed in town.
“It’s part of their budget and as towns struggle with their budget, and currently, this could provide relief to provide a whole host of services for their own community,” says John Fanburg, co-chair of the Cannabis Industry Practice at Brach Eichler.
Fanburg is a cannabis industry attorney. He says that dispensaries are retail establishments that employ lots of people and that they are subject to a “significant amount of regulatory scrutiny.”
Fanburg also says that towns should embrace this new legislation and use it as an opportunity to bring back struggling downtowns impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Instead of having shuttered store, this provides an opportunity to create more foot traffic in a town,” he says.
Towns that give cannabis businesses the green light to operate stand to collect a 2% tax revenue, which insiders say could be used to bolster struggling budgets and provide relief and services to its community. A new dispensary in nearby Asbury Park is expected to open and for now, that may have to be where Brick residents who want to purchase marijuana spend their disposable income.
The Brick Township City Council will hold a public hearing and vote on the ordinance on April 27.