Frequently Asked Questions: Morris Township Cannabis Advisory Board-updated 10/16/23
In 2020, voters in New Jersey approved by referendum vote an amendment to the State Constitution legalizing the recreational use of cannabis and allowing for recreational cannabis sales. The referendum received support from 68.64% of Morris Township voters.
As part of state law passed after the referendum vote, municipalities across the state who did not wish to allow cannabis businesses within their borders were required to opt out of some or all classes of cannabis licensing by August 21, 2021.
The Morris Township Committee opted out of all six classes of cannabis licensing in August 2021 with the intent to monitor the development of the industry and revisit their decision in future years. Additionally, the Township Committee passed an ordinance banning the use of cannabis and/or products on public property, including parks and recreational facilities.
It is important for members of the public to know that the decision to opt out was necessary to keep control over our Municipal zoning. If Morris Township had not decided to opt out in August 2021, any class of cannabis business not explicitly prohibited by ordinance would automatically have been permitted to operate within the municipality.
- A cannabis cultivator, manufacturer, distributor, or delivery service would have automatically been permitted uses in all industrial zones.
- A cannabis retailer would have automatically been a conditional use in all commercial or retail zones, though still required to meet any applicable zoning ordinance or get a variance in accordance with the Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL).
See the FAQs for municipalities on the NJ.gov website: Municipalities (nj.gov)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the Cannabis Advisory Board and why was it established?
The Cannabis Advisory Board was established by the Morris Township Committee to research the evolution of cannabis industry in New Jersey since its legalization in 2021 and report back to the Township Committee with recommendations as to whether or not Morris Township should remain opted out of all six classes of cannabis licensing.
The Cannabis Advisory Board is made up of five resident volunteers, the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor, and Township professionals. As an advisory board, it has no authority to set or change Township policies or ordinances.
After conducting its research, the board is required to provide a comprehensive, public report to the Township Committee when its work is complete. No formal action is being taken by the Cannabis Advisory Board.
What are the six classes of cannabis licensing?
New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) issues licenses for medicinal and recreational cannabis business operations in New Jersey. Each business requires a license, which must be active and in good standing, to perform any commercial cannabis activity.
The CRC is currently accepting applications for personal use (recreational) cannabis businesses in the following categories:
- Class 1 Cultivator – Growing cannabis plants within the State of NJ.
- Class 2 Manufacturer – Processing and packaging cannabis purchased in NJ into a variety of cannabis products for eventual use by consumers.
- Class 3 Wholesaler – Storing cannabis and cannabis products in warehouse space.
- Class 4 Distributor – Transporting or delivering cannabis and cannabis products in bulk intrastate from one licensed cannabis establishment to another.
- Class 5 Retailer – Selling cannabis and cannabis products to legal consumers.
- Class 6 Delivery Service – Providing courier services for consumer purchases of cannabis product and related supplies fulfilled by a retailer
- Testing Laboratory – Testing cannabis and cannabis products
Only Class 5 and Class 6 licensed cannabis businesses deal directly with members of the public (medicinal or recreational cannabis consumers). Class 1 -4 licensed cannabis businesses are prohibited from dealing directly with consumers.
While municipalities can opt out of any or all classes, they cannot prohibit the direct delivery of cannabis and cannabis products to residents living within their municipal jurisdiction.
When is the Cannabis Advisory Board meeting and how can I provide input in the process?
The Cannabis Advisory Board has scheduled six meetings to hear from Township and industry professionals. The final meeting of the board is designated for public comment and board discussion. You can find the full schedule below, along with agendas and recordings:
- Thursday, August 10th
- Tuesday, August 22nd
- Tuesday, September 19th
- Wednesday, October 4th
- Frank Vitolo, Attorney, Sills Cummis & Gross
- Chris Dowling, Owner, Sussex Cultivation
- Agenda / no video due to audio complications
- Tuesday, October 17th
- Wednesday, November 1st
What classes of cannabis is the Township considering and where will businesses be located?
As an advisory board, the Cannabis Advisory Board does not have the authority to set or change Township policy or ordinances. The group is studying the development of the cannabis industry in New Jersey and will provide a comprehensive, public report to the Township Committee when its work is complete.
The Cannabis Advisory Board is carefully researching the viability of all six Classes of licensed cannabis business for Morris Township and will produce a comprehensive, public report to the Township Committee when its work is complete. The Cannabis Advisory Board research process is thoughtful, robust, and not yet completed. The Township Committee will make all decisions related to cannabis policy or ordinances for Morris Township.