A medical cannabis moratorium is likely on the horizon in New Jersey’s largest city as Newark City Council’s economic development committee voted 3-2 to move a proposed 180-day ban to the full council, the Newark Advocate reports. The move comes after the council tabled a law that would have enacted an outright ban on medical cannabis businesses within the city.
Councilman Bill Cost, a Democrat, said while he isn’t opposed to medical cannabis he wants to make sure the city is being thorough with the rules.
“What I’m looking for in this moratorium is to again just shut down this process temporarily of the dispensaries and the locations until we have solid answers from the state,” he said in the report.
New Jersey lawmakers approved medical cannabis legislation last September and the rules governing the program are still being written by officials across several state agencies. They are not expected to be implemented until September 2018.
Republican Councilman Mark Frazier, who voted against the moratorium, said he would rather see the city create zoning rules specifically for Newark. Under the state law, dispensaries are already prohibited 500 feet from schools, churches, libraries, playgrounds, and public parks. City officials could limit the number of dispensaries, stipulate that shops can’t be right next to each other, and require local licenses, Frazier said.
Newark Law Director Doug Sasson said the council could develop such zoning rules while the moratorium is in place.