Wayne Township introduces ordinance to ban the sale of recreational marijuana

New Jersey has become the 13th state to legalize recreational marijuana, but there are some people who do not want it to be sold in their town.
The bills signed by Gov. Phil Murphy not only legalize adult-use marijuana but also decriminalize the possession of it in small amounts. The mayor of Wayne Township says that he does not want it sold in his town.
The Wayne Town Council proposed a full ban on the retail sale of marijuana.
“We just don’t believe it’s worth the effort or the time it would take our community and what our community can become,” says Mayor Chris Vergano.
In the township of over 55,000 people, over 18,000 residents voted to legalize marijuana in the November election.
“I thought that would be great for the economy, because the tax revenue from marijuana would be used for several state programs,” says Lavleen Mdahar with the group Wayne for Change.
But the Wayne council introduced an ordinance on March 3 to ban the sale. It is a duplicate ordinance from over a year ago that included changes due to the new regulations.
“What we did was just reemphasize and did the same thing we did a year and a half ago by just stating publicly that we don’t want any of the six categories,” Vergano says.
Those categories include: cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, testing facilities, product testing and medical dispensaries.
Towns like Paterson have seen an increase in revenue and have even partnered with dispensaries that promise local jobs.
Vergano estimates a 2% increase in revenue if marijuana shops are allowed to set up in Wayne. But he says that he is willing to take that loss in revenue with the ban.
Retail legislation gave towns like Wayne 180 days to pass an ordinance to either approve or disapprove marijuana sales.
“If you don’t act in the 180-day window, you have a five-year moratorium on when you can’t stop them,” the mayor says.
A public hearing will be held on April 7.