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Monthly Archives for April 2021

Coronavirus Information Update

Posted: April 30, 2021

All information, alerts and announcements related to the current COVID-19 situation are now posted on this separate page »

COUNTY INFORMATION

The Morris County Regional Vaccination Megasite is now accepting walk-ins for individuals ages 16 and older. Walk-ins are only accepted between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Appointments continue to be preferred and can be scheduled here. View further information about New Jersey’s other vaccination megasite locations, eligibility, and appointment scheduling.

 

 


New Cannabis Laws

Posted: April 29, 2021

The township council unanimously introduced Ordinance No. 23-21 prohibiting operation of any cannabis business in Randolph Township at its July 8, 2021 council meeting. The ordinance was voted into adoption during the second reading and public hearing at the council meeting on July 22, 2021. The council based its action on the recommendation of the Randolph Cannabis Subcommittee appointed earlier in the year to study the issue. The recommendations of the subcommittee are summarized in a report  presented to the council at its June 24, 2021 meeting. The council cited several reasons for its decision to “opt-out,” among those of which included the lack of final statewide rules and regulations, and the potential spillover impacts cannabis businesses could have on neighboring properties. The council, in introducing the “opt-out” ordinance on July 8, 2021, made it clear that it is not opposed to reconsidering its position on local cannabis business operation as more information becomes available in the future. Under the state legislation, municipalities may “opt-in” at any future time after initially opting out.

Legalization of Cannabis Forum #2
The Randolph Township Cannabis Subcommittee will be holding the second of two public forums on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 to collect input from residents and business owners on the local action the township council must consider regarding permitting or not permitting cannabis businesses under the recently enacted state law legalizing marijuana.

The forum will take place from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the municipal building, 502 Millbrook Avenue in Randolph.

The forum will provide a second opportunity for members of the Randolph community to express their views regarding the new state recreational cannabis laws, and the actions the township council must consider in accordance with the legislation prior to the 180 day deadline (August 22, 2021) on whether to open Randolph to such businesses or prohibit their establishment.

The Randolph Township Cannabis Subcommittee held its first of two public forums regarding the new cannabis laws on April 28, 2021. View the Cannabis PowerPoint Presentation  given at the meeting. Meeting minutes are currently being prepared and will be available through a link to be added here shortly.


Randolph Township Community Input - Cannabis Survey

The following link provides for a tabulation of the results from the cannabis survey conducted by the Randolph Township Cannabis Subcommittee earlier this year. It is important to note that this survey was prepared to gauge public opinion, however, the results are not statistically valid since the survey instrument had no means of confirming whether respondents were township residents or how many times an individual submitted a survey response. Based upon commentary received in public forums, it is strongly suspected the survey results may have been impacted by respondents from outside of the community or by multiple responses from the same person. For this reason, the survey results were considered, but not given significant weight in the deliberations by the township council on the ordinance ultimately adopted.


Background Information

Governor Murphy has signed into law legislation legalizing and regulating cannabis use and possession for adults 21 years and older.

New Laws

  • Cannabis Legalization (P.L.2021, c.16) (Feb. 22, 2021)
    Titled as the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement, Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act, this law legalizes regulatory cannabis. (A21)
  • Marijuana Decriminalization (P.L.2021, c.19) (Feb. 22, 2021)
    This law decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana and hashish and establishes new, more lenient penalties for the distribution of these substances. (A1897)
  • Other Clarifying Provisions (P.L.2021, c.25) (Feb. 22, 2021)
    This law clarifies certain provisions regarding marijuana and cannabis use and possession penalties for individuals younger than 21 years old. (S3454)
  • Additional Clarifying Provisions (P.L. 2021, c.38) (Mar. 26, 2021)
    This law revises certain provisions concerning parental notification of juveniles found to be using or possessing alcohol, marijuana, hashish or cannabis, as well as amending certain other provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15. (A5472)

To assist residents in gaining a better understanding of the new laws, view this Cannabis Legalization Fact Sheet .

Municipal Considerations

  • Existing Ordinances: Any existing municipal ordinances regulating or prohibiting cannabis are null and void. They must be readopted to be effective.
  • Opt-In or Opt-Out Timeline: Municipalities have 180 days (until August 21, 2021) to take action to either prohibit or limit the number of cannabis establishments, distributors, or delivery services; the location, manner, and times of operation, and establishing civil penalties for violation of ordinances.
  • No Action Result: If municipalities do not take action within 180 days, any class of cannabis establishment or distributor will be permitted to operate in the municipality, and depending on the type of establishment, be considered a permitted use in certain zones.
  • 5-Year Periods: Once a municipality permits cannabis establishment or distributor operations in their community, that action remains valid for 5 years. After this 5-year period, a municipality has another 180-day window to prohibit or limit cannabis operations, but this action only applies prospectively. Those who initially opt-out can opt-in at any time.
  • Local Cannabis Tax: Municipalities can enact by ordinance a local cannabis tax that cannot exceed 2% for cannabis cultivator, manufacturer, and/or retailer; and 1% for wholesalers. The tax percentage is based on the receipts for each sale and is paid directly to the municipality in the manner prescribed by the municipality. Any delinquencies are treated the same as delinquent property taxes. The tax cannot apply to delivery services to consumers or transfers for the purpose of bulk transportation.
  • Delivery Rights: A municipality cannot prohibit the delivery of cannabis items and related supplies by a delivery service within their jurisdiction.

Township Subcommittee
The township council has formed a subcommittee to study and collect additional information and community input on the new law. The subcommittee will be making a recommendation to the full township council prior to the expiration of the 180 day deadline for local action on the question of whether Randolph should opt in or out of allowing cannabis businesses to operate within the municipal boundaries. The subcommittee consists of the following members:

Chris Carey—Township Council
Joanne Veech—Township Council
Lance Tkacs—Township Council
Steve Mountain—Township Manager
David Ehehalt—Economic Development Committee
John Insinga—Board of Health
Kevin Keller—Chamber of Commerce
Art Lee—Planning Board
Liz Ritter—Municipal Alliance Committee

The subcommittee is meeting weekly to become more educated on the state laws and the decisions Randolph must address locally under the laws. In addition, the subcommittee will be hosting two community forums and administering a community survey to collect community input on the new laws in the upcoming months.

Other Resources


June 9, 2021 Public Forum #2—Meeting Minutes

A. CANNABIS PUBLIC FORUM

1. Introduction of the Randolph Cannabis Subcommittee

Councilwoman Carey opened the meeting and welcomed attendees to the Randolph Cannabis Public Forum #2. She asked the township representatives in attendance - Board of Health Representative John Insinga, Councilwoman Joanne Veech, Councilman Lou Nisivoccia and Township Manager Stephen Mountain to introduce themselves.

Councilwoman Carey opened the discussion with an overview and introduction. She advised that on the township website there is a great deal of information about the new laws and the subcommittee, therefore, she would be brief.

The subcommittee consists of:

Chris Carey—Township Council Joanne Veech—Township Council Lance Tkacs—Township Council Steve Mountain—Township Manager David Ehehalt—Economic Development Committee John Insinga—Board of Health Kevin Keller—Chamber of Commerce Art Lee—Planning Board Liz Ritter—Municipal Alliance Committee

Councilwoman Carey explained that the subcommittee has been meeting regularly for the past several months and it is their goal to make a recommendation to the Township Council about whether or not to opt-in or opt-out to six business cannabis related licenses. Since the laws established by the state have provided a 180 day timeframe for towns to take this action, the subcommittee is planning to get their recommendation to the Council by the end of June so they can take action before the August 21st deadline. She advised that this was the second of two public forums the town was conducting on the recently enacted laws legalizing the use of recreational marijuana. The purpose for the public forums was to educate the public on the new laws, the decisions required under the laws to be made by Randolph Township and to collect community input. She explained that tonight, as was done in the first forum, she and the other members of the subcommittee would be listening and gathering input; and wanted to give the public time to speak.

3. Guidelines for Public Forum

Members of the public had the opportunity to offer comments during the open portion of the forum. If individuals were uncomfortable speaking they could also offer comment by emailing the subcommittee through the Township Manager’s Office at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this e-mail address). She briefly reviewed how the forum’s public session would work. They would record and answer all the questions in writing and make the answers public so the entire community could have the benefit of seeing them.

4. Overview of New Laws

Councilwoman Carey presented an overview on New Jersey Cannabis Legalization Laws.

She explained that based on voter approval in November 2020, the public voted to legalize cannabis in New Jersey. As a follow up to those results, Governor Murphy signed three bills into law on February 22, 2021. These laws make adults’ use of marijuana officially legal and decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession in New Jersey.

Under the new laws a Cannabis Regulatory Commission has been created. The five member commission is charged under the law with the responsibility of developing the regulations under which all the new cannabis laws will be administered and enforced. That commission is required by law to adopt the new rules and regulations within 180 days (August 22, 2021) of the law’s signing; the municipalities are running parallel to this deadline. The Commission will also be the body in charge of licensing the new businesses allowed under the law and overseeing those licenses once issued. The bill creates licenses for six classes of cannabis businesses. The license process is solely governed by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. She explained that a local business owner cannot successfully apply for a license without the municipality in which the operator intends to locate having opted in for that business use.

Councilwoman Carey provided a brief overview of the 6 Classes of Cannabis Licenses.

* Class 1 - Cannabis Cultivator
* Class 2 - Cannabis Manufacturer
* Class 3 - Cannabis Wholesaler
* Class 4 - Cannabis Distributor
* Class 5 - Cannabis Retailer
* Class 6 - Cannabis Delivery

Councilwoman Carey concluded the presentation and informed the public that the group would be moving onto the public comment session. She reminded individuals seeking to speak that they had three minutes to do so and that their comments should be directed towards the actions the township must take regarding the new laws. Since the group was small she advised she would be liberal with the time restriction, but still encouraged speakers to be concise.

Public Comment

Kim Pailas 10 Nottingham Way stated she appreciates the subcommittee and the town’s efforts for considering the impacts of the new laws. She has a couple of concerns. She is concerned that not enough is yet known regarding how the community feels about the location of cannabis businesses in town. She feels moving forward on opting in at this time could negatively affect home values and possibly threaten public safety. She feels that the parties that stand to gain the most in her observation are supporting moving forward quickly. She feels the town should take a longer look at the issue, and gain more input. She recommends opting out and studying for at least 2-5 years. The study should look at how other community’s act, and gather more comment from the town residents. Take advantage of public events to collect information and comment. She questioned what the rush was for. In her opinion, Randolph is in good financial shape and does not need the extra revenue from a cannabis tax to balance its budget. Also, concern that opting in will lock the town in for 5 years and any business that establishes themselves in this five year period will be grandfathered forever. If the town opts out the decision can be reviewed again in 12 months. Resident concerns are important as are home values. Slow down and let other towns go first. Also very important to know more about how the state will be regulating the businesses. Since those rules are not yet established, she feels this is another reason to delay any immediate action.

Sanjay Chaudhari 1502 Sussex Turnpike stated he is a township resident and he is looking to open a cannabis cultivation business in town. He is hoping to obtain a license. The people have been asked and they voted in favor of the legalization of recreational marijuana. It is important that the town respond to this positive vote and allow for local establishments that promote accessibility to the product. Cannabis is a natural product that calms the user. It is not a substance associated with violence as alcohol sometimes can be. It is good for society. He opposes the incremental approach. His business would be ready to go right away. He has an option for a lease on space in a building in the Canfield Business Park and would look to establish an indoor cultivation business at that location. The business will generate tax revenue that would be helpful to the town. Delivery will make the product available in town. He advised that the Council can choose to opt-in on some business classes and not all. His approach to cultivation is best because it would be indoor and securely contained within the building. It will be a sustainable business. He is a master gardener and has been studying ways to sequester carbon from waste material that releases carbon in the atmosphere. He has also been studying how to retain more carbon in the soil material so that less is emitted into the atmosphere. He would like to have his business located in Randolph, the community in which he lives. He hopes he does not have to move his family out of town as they have been in the community for almost a decade.

Robert Allen of Livingston Township, Essex County, shared that he is in the process of down-sizing and looking for places to live. He advised he and his wife are partners in a cannabis related business called Cana Pop Up, whose mission is to educate and inform about the benefits of cannabis. He has been speaking as advocate to other communities as well as his own town. He commended Randolph on the process they have been conducting to gather input on the issue. He complimented the town on the community survey which he thought was very good and indicated he would be recommending his town Livingston consider preparing a similar survey. He advised that he feels cannabis and cannabis users still are being stigmatized. He stated he is the face of cannabis today. He asked the group if any of them had been to a cannabis dispensary. He offered to arrange a tour of a dispensary. He advised if you see how these businesses are set up and operated you will see there is nothing to be afraid of. You should not be afraid to allow cannabis businesses to operate in your community.

Nancy Podesta 9 Foxwood Lane stated she is a Randolph resident whose father was a long time business owner so she understands the interest in this issue from prospective business owners. As a mother she is concerned. She indicated she has been doing a lot of research on the internet about marijuana and specifically how it can be detrimental to young people. She referenced a Surgeon General report that stated marijuana use can negatively impact an adolescent brain; impair learning; cause increased school drop-out rates and suicides. She also talked about a CDC study that also expressed concern about marijuana negatively impacting brain health; causing attention deficit; memory loss; and decline in learning functions. She encouraged the town to opt out from allowing business to locate locally. She advised many of the area towns have already taken this action including Mount Olive, Dover, Wayne, Morristown, and Denville. Why should Randolph Township be the first? Why rush? A quick decision will put the community’s children at risk. She advocates further study and review before any action to allow cannabis business in town. As an alternative, the town should be working to attract other business that will benefit the community as a whole and that the community needs. She referenced the approved commercial location on Route 10, formerly Senatores Restaurant, as an area where the town should be encouraging more general commercial development.

Jennifer Kaden 59 Dover Chester Road advised she spoke at the first forum and she wanted to again affirm her support for the town opting in for local cannabis business. She is the mother of three children with learning disabilities. She loves the town and greatly appreciates the great schools and community in which to raise her children. She is a medical marijuana patient. She is also a chef and she utilizes cannabis products in her cooking. She shared that a large percentage of the community voted in favor of the legalization of marijuana. She is not concerned about under-age impacts because dispensaries will be checking IDs and off-limits to those to whom the sale of the product is illegal. She stated that marijuana is not addictive and not a gateway to other drugs. She also does not feel home values will go down and instead thinks they will increase if the community is open to cannabis business. She advised that she is interested in opening an edibles dispensary business in town. If the town does not opt in then she will look for other communities to establish her business and Randolph will lose this potential tax revenue.

Meet Patel 1206 Sussex Turnpike stated that he is the owner/operator of the Stardust Smoke Shop on Sussex Turnpike. His main concern is that if the town decides to opt out of allowing cannabis business, black marketers could take over this business. It is already happening. Two days ago a new smoke shop opened called Dirty Jerzy Supplies on Route 10 in a gas station establishment. They are selling marijuana flower openly to adults and kids under “gifting loopholes.” He explained they sell a small container for $80, but the value of the contents is only $0.50; and they gift the marijuana product. This black market approach is undermining other legitimate businesses and will expand if the town opts out. He hopes this activity will be addressed regardless of the town’s decision to opt-in or out. He further stated that if the town bans the sale of cannabis it will be losing an opportunity for tax revenue.

Wayne Burrini 11 Calais Road stated he is a 40 year resident of Randolph. He advised he is also a medical marijuana patient. He shared that Randolph residents do care about the legalization of cannabis. NJ voted overwhelmingly in favor of legalization. He is upset it took so long for the legislature and governor to act on the new law, but now they have. He has been a cannabis activist for many years. He does not agree with the scare tactics. Kids are not getting into alternate treatment centers. The kids are safe as this will be a highly regulated enterprise. He stated if the town voted no then it cannot opt back in for 5 years. Councilwoman Carey corrected, stating the town can opt in at any time after opting out. If it opts in then it cannot opt out for five years. He thanked the Councilwoman for her clarification, but stated further that he does not feel the town should delay waiting for the State Cannabis Regulatory Commission to promulgate their rules. He hopes Randolph votes yes now to opt in.

Councilwoman Carey asked if anyone else who had not already spoken wished to comment. Seeing no one, she advised she would open the comment period for anyone wishing to speak again. She advised that 2 minutes would be allotted for follow-up comments. Kim Pailis asked what 2 percent of the value of the town’s total real estate assessment was. She stated that this value is significantly higher than the 2 percent tax revenue that could potentially be collected from the local cannabis tax. She opined that the town should be concerned that any revenue potentially generated from cannabis businesses would be offset by the much greater impact of a decline in property tax ratables resulting from the allowance of cannabis business. She also reiterated the point that since the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission has not yet established rules, we don’t know how the business is to be regulated. The town should not be opting in without knowing this information.

Robert Allen stated he agrees cannabis products are not for children. There are liquor stores in town. Parents can bring children into a liquor store. However, someone under the age of 21 cannot get near a dispensary. These outlets are safely regulated. The concern about marijuana and children is a parenting issue. If cannabis businesses are properly zoned and following the laws, there is no risk to the community’s youth. If Randolph fails to vote yes for opting in it will be political suicide. The cannabis advocacy community is strong and will band together to vote out of office those who oppose.

Jennifer Kaden stated that not all businesses that could come into town are dispensaries. The town can opt in for some cannabis business categories and not others. You don’t have to say yes to all categories of licenses.

Sanjay Chaudhari advised that there is currently an empty warehouse space that he has an option to fill with his proposed cultivation business. The business will bring the community 300 jobs and significant tax revenue. If the town opts out of allowing cannabis businesses to operate locally it will lose diversity. People of color such as he and his family will move out of Randolph. Legal cannabis sale will be highly regulated. If the town chooses to opt out it will be encouraging other stores operating on the black market as previously referenced to fill the void.

Robert Allen asked when the Council was expected to consider the action on cannabis. Councilwoman Carey advised that the subcommittee will be looking to forward its recommendation to the Council by the end of the month and that she expects the Council to act in July.

Councilwoman Carey asked if there were any further comments from the attendees. Seeing no one, she thanked all of the participants and moved to adjourn the meeting.


April 28, 2021 Public Forum #1—Meeting Minutes

A. CANNABIS PUBLIC FORUM

1. Introduction of the Randolph Cannabis Subcommittee

Councilwoman Carey provided a brief introduction for the purpose of the meeting. She explained that the forum would consist of an introduction to the Cannabis Subcommittee and an overview of the group’s purpose/goals, an overview of the New Laws, and a session for public comments.

The subcommittee consists of:

Chris Carey-Township Council
Joanne Veech-Township Council
Lance Tkacs-Township Council
Steve Mountain-Township Manager
David Ehehalt-Economic Development Committee
John Insinga-Board of Health
Kevin Keller-Chamber of Commerce
Art Lee-Planning Board
Liz Ritter-Municipal Alliance Committee

Councilwoman Carey explained that the committee’s goal is to collect information and gather data to make informed recommendations to the Randolph Township Council regarding five different types of cannabis related businesses and whether the committee recommends that they should be allowed operate in Randolph or not.

The committee has been meeting since January, and has been getting input from the Randolph business community, the Board of Health, the Police Department, Township Attorney, Planning Board, representatives from other New Jersey with medical marijuana businesses already operating; the group plans to talk to out-of-state municipalities that have experience with cannabis-related businesses in their communities. Most importantly the committee is obtaining input from residents, and Randolph business owners and the community in general. This forum and the second one scheduled for June 9, depending on demand the subcommittee will discuss adding additional events. She informed the public that an online survey has been distributed to the Randolph community, it was originally posted last Wednesday; in less than week they have had over three hundred responses. The survey is available online and is being promoted through social media and various news outlets.

The committee is seeking to get a recommendation to the council by July 1, so the council can make the final decisions before the August 22 deadline.

2. Purpose/Charge/Goal of Randolph Cannabis Subcommittee

Councilwoman Carey explained that the purpose for this first forum was to educate the public on the new laws, the decisions required under the laws to be made by Randolph Township and to collect community input. Their role this evening was to listen and gather input; they are just in the information stages and want to give the public time to speak.

3. Guidelines for Public Forum

Members of the public will have the opportunity to offer comments during the open portion of the forum, if individuals were uncomfortable speaking they could also offer comment by emailing the subcommittee through the Township Manager’s Office at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this e-mail address). She briefly reviewed how the forum’s public session would work. They will record and answer all the questions in writing and make the answers public so the entire community can have the benefit of seeing them.

4. Overview of New Laws

Councilwoman Carey presented an overview on New Jersey Cannabis Legalization Laws.

She explained that Based on voter approval in November 2020 the public voted to legalize cannabis in New Jersey. As a follow up to those results, Governor Murphy signed three bills into law on February 22, 2021. These laws make adults use of marijuana officially legal and decriminalize small amounts of marijuana position in New Jersey.

Under the new laws a Cannabis Regulatory Commission has been created. The five member commission is charged under the law with the responsibility of developing the regulations under which all the new cannabis laws will be administered and enforced. That commission is required by law to adopt the new rules and regulations within 180 days (August 22, 2021) of the law’s signing; the municipalities are running parallel to this deadline. The Commission will also be the body in charge of licensing the new businesses allowed under the law and overseeing those licenses once issued. The bill creates licenses for six classes of cannabis businesses. The license process is solely governed by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. She explained that a local business owner cannot successfully apply for a license without the municipality in which the operator intends to locate having opted in for that business use.

Councilwoman Carey provided a brief overview of the 6 Classes of Cannabis Licenses.

* Class 1 - Cannabis Cultivator
* Class 2 - Cannabis Manufacturer
* Class 3 - Cannabis Wholesaler
* Class 4 - Cannabis Distributor
* Class 5 - Cannabis Retailer
* Class 6 - Cannabis Delivery

She explained that any ordinance adopted by a municipality prior to the law’s enactment prohibiting marijuana establishments were invalidated by the new law. Municipalities have 180 days to either “opt-in”; and allow any or all cannabis businesses to operate locally, or to “opt-out”; and prohibit any or all cannabis businesses from operating locally. She explained that if a municipality choose to “opt-in,” local business owners in the permitted areas of business could then apply for the necessary state license to establish their operation. Towns opting in for any or all cannabis businesses may enact additional regulations governing times of operation, location, manner and number of types of cannabis businesses as well as other regulations. Once a municipality permits cannabis business, that action remains valid for five years. After the five year period, a municipality has another 180 days to prohibit or limit cannabis business, but this action only applies to future businesses, not the businesses that have been grandfathered in. If the municipality chooses to “opt-out” they may choose to “opt-in” at any point in the future.

Councilwoman Carey explained that municipalities that “opt-in” can enact by ordinance a local cannabis tax that cannot exceed 2% for cannabis cultivator, manufacturer, and/or retailer; and 1% for wholesalers. The tax percentage is based on the receipts for each sale and is paid directly to the municipality. The tax cannot apply to delivery services, consumers, or transfers for the purpose of bulk transportation. State sales tax revenue and any fines and fees collected by the commission will be deposited into a fund that may be used for the Commission’s operational costs, and to provide reimbursement to counties and municipalities for police officer drug recognition training. At least 70% of the sales tax revenue must be allocated for social justice initiatives, which as far as she knew, was undefined.

The Commission is also permitted to impose a Social Equity Excise Fee on transfers from cultivators to other types of cannabis establishments of between $10 and $60 per ounce depending on the average statewide retail cost of an ounce. Revenue from the Social Equity Excise Fee would also be allocated for social justice initiatives.

There will be a 24-month transition period, beginning with the Commission’s adoption of the regulations, followed by the acceptance and approval of applications, cannabis production will begin and then retail sales.

Residents are not expected to be able to purchase cannabis through recreational cannabis dispensaries until 2022 at the earliest. During this transition period, the medical marijuana facilities already in operation in the state will be allowed to operate in the personal use market under certain conditions.

Residents are not permitted under the new laws to grow cannabis for either personal use or sale at their homes or other locations. A license is required. The new laws prohibit the location of cannabis retail operations from grocery stores, delis, and indoor food markets, other stores engaging in retail food sale and businesses licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.

Councilwoman Carey concluded the presentation and informed the public that the group would be moving onto the public comment session. She reminded individuals seeking to speak that they had three minutes to do so and that their comments should be directed towards the actions the township must take regarding the new laws.

5. Public Comment

The committee will be recording questions and providing a summary of responses to all questions posed during the forum in a document that will be posted in the township website in the coming days.

Edward “Lefty” Grimes of Sativa Cross at 84 Hanover Road, East Hanover, stated that Morris County needed a dispensary. He stated that the committee would be hearing from working-class individuals who want to grow their business and shared that there were concerns that corporate cannabis would be coming in and affecting small businesses. He shared that his organization advocates for disabled rights and discussed the impacts of taxation and medicine on people with disabilities. He stated that if the tax was implemented, representation should be given as should wheelchair access.

He stated that the medicine being purchased from corporate cannabis was molding and overpriced. He was concerned that recreational cannabis would push individuals in wheelchairs further back in line and leave them with limited access. He stated that these individuals needed help from every municipality. He asked the committee to consider the thought of spending a day in a wheelchair to understand that those are the people that need help. He explained how delivery was not an option due to the extra costs associated with that service. He stated that people in wheelchairs should be allowed to browse and be given the same options as able body people. He asked the committee to at least be open to the medical aspect.

Matthew Hand of 20 Village Court, Flemington, Hunterdon County, shared that he was a medical marijuana patient who had very little access in Hunterdon County. He commented that Morris County would be much closer for him. He stated his support for more cultivators and any cannabis licenses in towns. He shared that he was familiar with the work of Sanjay Chaudhari, a Randolph resident who owns the company Sweet Virginia Soil, and explained that if the municipality allowed the licenses to go through, Mr. Chaudhari would be able to maintain his residency in town and have his business thrive. He again stated his support for the cannabis licenses, particularly for the cultivating licenses. He appreciated the committee putting together the forum to hear the 70% of voters who favored legalization and the availability of cannabis.

Hugh Giordano of 57 Argyle Avenue, Blackwood, Camden County, shared that he was attending the meeting as a representative of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 152. He explained that the UFCW Union is the official labor union that represents cannabis workers. He commented that it was good to hear that the committee was discussing the various license types and if certain facilities would be permitted in the township. He explained that the jobs for cannabis workers would be union jobs and that the laws had labor language to make sure that standards are met to protect workers and employers. He briefly discussed the demographics of cannabis workers and shared that the City of Bayonne, NJ, passed an ordinance that laid out criteria that companies must comply with to enter into the market. He suggested this ordinance be an example for Randolph Township as it outlines environmental standards, labor standards, and other standards that protect citizens, patients, and workers.

Sanjay Chaudhari of 1502 Sussex Turnpike, Randolph, asked if there was a reason that faces could not be seen during the forum. Manager Mountain explained that the township did not have the ability to archive video; therefore it was being conducted through audio. Mr. Chaudhari asked if there was no way to record the video. Manager Mountain informed him that there were ways to do so, however, because this was not the normal way of conducting business, and because the township did not anticipate continuing business this way after the pandemic, the town had not invested in that type of technology. Mr. Chaudhari commented that it felt strange to conduct business this way and stated that if it was an issue of money, he could assist. Manager Mountain informed Mr. Chaudhari that he was cutting into his allotted time and that he did not want him to lose his opportunity to speak on the issue. He informed Mr. Chaudhari that he had 2 minutes remaining.

Mr. Chaudhari stated that he would be putting in an application for a cultivation license. He shared that he has lived in Randolph for almost a decade and cited his involvement within the community. He shared details of an incident that occurred in September 2017 at the Randolph High School that involved himself, the school’s principal, school staff, and Randolph Police. He stated that when something bad happens he speaks out and that he stands up for children and the environment. He explained that he has been operating his two Virginia LLCs, his organic sustainable soil company and research business outside of Randolph and shared that he has been studying soil science for about 23 years.

Manager Mountain informed Mr. Chaudhari that he had 30 seconds of his allotted time left.

Mr. Chaudhari shared that he has been studying for a long time; he is a certified master gardener and has been studying ways to sequester carbon from waste material that releases carbon in the atmosphere and studying to figure out how to retain more of the carbon in the soil material and have less of it go into the atmosphere. He stated that he would like to maintain his soil business in Randolph and start a sustainable organic zero-waste cultivation facility in the town, as there is nothing like what he was trying to do in the state or country. He hoped that he would not have to move his family out of town as they have been in the community for almost a decade. He hoped that the committee would be open to the licenses and shared that he would be emailing the committee specific information and data.

Manager Mountain informed Mr. Chaudhari that his allotted time was up.

Moti Kahana of 95A Calais Road, Randolph, recommended that the township look into the possibility of farming as the committee was examining the different licenses and their possibilities. He stated that he was not looking to sell, but instead looking to grow and sell out of town. He shared that he has lived in Randolph for 20 years and planned to be here long into the future. He asked the committee to provide a way for farmers to have an option to grow in town and sell out of town, whether or not they decide the town should go for all, some, or none of the licenses.

Kumar Patel of the Randolph Stardust Smoke Shop at 1206 Sussex Turnpike, Randolph, inquired if local small businesses and people living and working in Randolph would be given preference over outside newcomers if the town started to issue licenses.

Jennifer Kaden of 59 Dover Chester Road, Randolph, thanked the committee for their time. She explained that in November of 2020, 68.06% of Randolph residents voted in favor of adult-use cannabis. She stated that Morris County did not have any dispensaries and that patients were forced to drive 90 minutes round trip for their medicine. She shared that she has been a medical marijuana patient since 2014 and that since using it, her life and medical conditions have improved. She explained that having cannabis businesses in Randolph would help many in the community and its surrounding areas that need and deserve access. She shared that she was an executive chef who owned a catering company, and had a degree in the business of cannabis. She helps patients all over the state learn how to cook and infuse cannabis into their food. She would love the opportunity to obtain her license in Randolph and possibly open an edible shop or consumption lounge that is close to her home. She was asking for the committee to consider saying yes to cannabis businesses in Randolph.

Eduardo Pachela of Integrated Analytical Laboratories at 273 Franklin Rd, Randolph, shared that the company he works for commonly works in the environmental industry, and conducts testing and analysis on soil, water, and air, for a variety of environmental contaminants. He shared that his lab has pledged to add cannabis to the arsenal of analysis they provide. The company would be testing for potency, heavy metals, pesticides, moisture, microbiological tests, and more, all of which are conducted to ensure that cannabis products are safe for the end-user. He commented that the company did not apply to the licensing aspect being discussed and instead shared that they were seeking approval from the town before going forward with establishing another part of their business in town.

Wayne Berrini of 11 Calais Road, Randolph, shared that he is a lifelong Randolph resident and an advocate and supporter of cannabis. He commented that it was nice to know that he was not the only one who wanted cannabis in Randolph. He stated that it was good to hear from Mr. Chaudhari and his business Sweet Virginia Soil. He explained that to grow cannabis, good soil, and farmers were required. He referred to Moti Kahana. He commented that it was good to hear from Stardust Smoke Shop and the many other individuals who showed support for cannabis in Randolph. He hoped that Randolph would vote successfully to become a cannabis town and inquired about when the voting would take place. He cited a bible verse and thanked the committee for their time.

Raymond Capra of 38 Herman Street, Glen Ridge Borough, Essex County, recognized that many people participating in the forum were enthusiastic about the discussion. He was happy to hear that the Township Council was open to the discussion. He cited the 70% of state voters who were in favor of the cannabis legislation and assumed that the figure was the same in Randolph. He stated that it was the duty of the Township Council to approve of these businesses, take advantage of the end of prohibition, allow the town to reap the potential financial benefits, and spur businesses in the community.

Chris Velazquez of the Town of Dover, shared that he grew up in Randolph and that he is a cannabis patient. He works with SativaCross.org to advocate for patient rights and cannabis access for all. He stated that he was in full support of cannabis businesses in Randolph. He has been working in the Town of Dover to get them to allow cannabis businesses as well. He stated that Morris County did not have any dispensaries; therefore he believed Randolph or Dover would have a great opportunity to be the first in Morris County to have a dispensary in their town.

He explained that he supported small cannabis businesses and that he did not want corporate cannabis taking over in the towns. He believed that the businesses should be owned locally. He shared that the Dover Cannabis Community participated in the town’s clean-up, during which he was talking to people about cannabis. He shared that he was approached by many older people who were inquiring about access to cannabis to address their medical conditions as an alternative to pills. He appreciated the committee putting together this forum and hearing the public. He stated that Randolph should allow all businesses in the town and help the cannabis community.

Ruth McAndrew of the Combs Hollow area in Randolph thanked the committee for allowing this forum. She shared that she owns and operates a 100-acre preserve farm in Randolph and that her farm was currently exploring a partnership with one of two cannabis growers/cultivators. She stated that she was happy that Randolph was open to welcoming cannabis businesses in the town. She commented that she has seen the benefits of medical marijuana firsthand and that she was confident that Randolph would welcome these businesses in the town.

Chris Somia shared that he was a cannabis patient and that he was a part of the Sativa Cross organization. He shared that he suffered severe injuries from an accident four years ago and that he has found that cannabis use has improved his condition greatly. He explained the struggle with gaining access to dispensaries as patients must travel 90 minutes to a dispensary and only had limited selection by the time they arrive. He was advocating for micro licenses for residents and helping people that are wheelchair bound to have closer access. He echoed Mr. Grimes’ previous statement about understanding what wheelchair-bound individuals go through. He stated that it was not right that there were pharmacies everywhere and that he had the right to choose which medicine he takes. He stated that the education being gathered was a great start to trying various forms out.

Manager Mountain informed Mr. Somia that he had 15 seconds left.

Mr. Somia thanked the committee for putting together this forum.

Jamie Vansiver of Clarksboro, Gloucester County, shared that she was with Sativa Cross. She stated that 68.0% of Randolph’s constituents voted for recreational legalization. She asked the township to have empathy for medical patients and asked the committee to consider the thought that if that many people voted for recreational use, the number would probably be higher if it were just for medical. She stated that the people using medical cannabis were individuals with disabilities, ailments, cancer, and other conditions. She shared her medical condition and explained how pharmaceuticals affected her negatively. She stated that people with chronic conditions require and need access to something else other than pharmacy medications as they can be sentenced to building tolerance to pain medication. She shared that she does not take pharmaceuticals to heal her immune system and body and that her doctor has seen positive results. She hoped the township would at least give people in Randolph access to medical marijuana in the community, so patients would not have to travel an hour and a half to get medication.

Manager Mountain informed Mrs. Vansiver that she had 15 seconds left.

Mrs. Vansiver hoped people would have the access to go out for these choices and see what is available. She asked that empathy for the patients be shown.

R.L. of Kensington Drive in Randolph stated that he entered the forum at 5:45 p.m. He described his medical conditions and explained that medical marijuana has helped him significantly. He stated that the nearest dispensaries were in Union or Montclair, New Jersey; which was a haul for him as there is none in Morris County. He stated that it would be beneficial to the town and that he supported it. He asked for a summary of the first 45 minutes of the forum.

Manager Mountain informed Mr. R.L. that the PowerPoint that was presented at the beginning of the meeting was available on the township website. The PowerPoint would provide a great overview of what was being discussed. They will be posting a summary of the meeting after it is compiled. The two sources will cover what was missed.

R.L. stated that medical marijuana has helped him with multiple medical conditions. He commented that it was effective and that opening access in Randolph would lead to many visitors from other towns as there is none in Morris County.

Robert Allen of Livingston Township, Essex County, shared that he is in the process of downsizing and looking for places to live; Morris County is one of them. He commented that he would like to live in a cannabis-friendly town. He stated that currently, he is in discussion with Livingston Township; they had their first forum on the allowance of cannabis businesses in their town. He stated that he was insulted by the towns that were not considerate of cannabis because if they decided to ban cannabis what they were essentially saying was that they did not want the type of people who shop for cannabis in their town.

He stated that any township considering banning cannabis must answer the question of why. He commented that if towns decide to ban cannabis, which goes against state and local mandates, everyone will have to answer for it during the next election. He stated that this was a group that was very passionate about wanting cannabis to be accessible in their towns, just like alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine is.

He stated that townships should be aware that children cannot go anywhere near dispensaries, unlike how children can enter stores that sell a variety of products including alcohol. He stated that Mr. Chaudhari was one of the most trusted individuals in the cannabis space and that he would turn to him for any advice on making decisions. He shared that he would be hosting an educational event on Saturday to answer questions, and help residents understand the new industry and how it could be embraced without fear.

Jessica McAndrew of 333 Kemper Drive, Delaware, shared that she grew up in Randolph and was a fourth-generation farmer. She moved to Delaware because she was priced out of the town as it became more expensive and there were not many businesses. She asked the committee to think of the generations that are coming into their own now and provide an opportunity for them to stay in town and be a part of it. She shared that she was a partial owner of Miller Hill Farm and that she frequently makes time to visit the township. She shared that she was a volunteer firefighter, a member of the ladies auxiliary when in the community. She thanked the committee for taking the time to look into legalizing cannabis businesses and asked them to think of the jobs that would be created for residents.

Brandon Chewey of the City of Asbury Park, Monmouth County, stated that it seemed to him that the township’s question didn’t need much of a vote as there was strong support. He founded the Asbury Park Cannabis Community which was incorporated in 2017, and briefly shared his history and concerns with pharmaceutical medicines, the opioid crisis, and exploitation. He stated that medical marijuana became available to him in 2015; since his use, his life and conditions have improved. His organization has been working with the City of Asbury Park to address the infrastructure, development, and licensing aspects of cannabis. He commented that he was glad to hear from Sativa Cross, Hugh Giordano, Robert Allen, and that all the people in the town were well informed. He stated that there was a significant lack of medical marijuana patient rights which were being restricted by corporate cannabis denying small businesses. He shared that his organization has been working with Sanjay Chaudhari to educate and conduct research.

His organization has advocated with many of the people participating in the forum and with local district representatives as well. He shared that they were working on local city plans across the Jersey Shore municipalities to form an educated approach to the economic industry. He urged the committee to look into the information and welcomed them to reach out to his organization as their services were being offered. He shared that he has been in the California cannabis industry since 2015. What he saw happening was a complete corporate takeover and patient rights being hindered due to a “green rush.” He stated that Morris County was lucky to have a group of people that want to see a proper business be established here. He cautiously urged the committee to be wary of lobbyists in the industry that affect the way the markets are depicted. He concluded his comments by sharing that his organization has been specifically working with municipalities on drug policies.

Manager Mountain informed Mr. Chewey that he had 15 seconds left.

Mr. Chewey thanked the committee for holding this forum and asked the committee to contact him for information regarding the plans at the Jersey Shore to educate and rehabilitate. He stated that there is an opioid crisis; opioids are free, while medical marijuana is $500 an ounce, and home growth is not allowed. He asked the committee to contact him so they could discuss educated, economic infrastructure, and education for children in the community.

Joe Vuich of 33 Everdale Road in Randolph stated that he was not participating in the forum to either advocate for or oppose cannabis. He was just participating as a municipal professional for engineering and planning to provide a word of wisdom for his municipality. He has been researching this topic for years, to try and stay at the forefront of the cannabis industry. He would like it if the municipality would strive for inclusionary zoning in all aspects of any new adoption of the regulation, government-sanctioned distribution, cultivation, and anything else that fell under state statutes that have been adopted.

He stated that there were plenty of Case Laws regarding the standards for affordable housing, and state and local municipal land use protections, that have shown “not in our back yard” type of zoning. He commented that inclusionary zoning, spot zoning, and consideration zoning trod a very thin line. He stated that if the state saw fit for cannabis to be a part of the consumed products in NJ, the municipality should include all levels of the 1-6 business licenses and facilities that could currently be afforded through Randolph’s existing zoning districts. He did not want to see Randolph be required to pay any unnecessary taxes or face depositions or lawsuits in the future. He provided his full support to the municipality. He offered his professional guidance in any way he could to provide information that could benefit the township’s elected officials in making their decision.

Kristen S. of 18 Atlantic Drive, Parsippany, thanked the committee and council for their consideration and for holding this discussion. She shared that she is a lifelong Morris County Resident. She urged the township to allow all the classes of cannabis that want to exist and participate in the local economy.

Patrick Bedrives of Jackson Township, Ocean County, shared that he is an advocate for cannabis cultivation; primarily on the homegrown level. He was inquiring if the township had come forward with any reformations on home growth. He referred to Mr. Sanjay Chaudhari’s work and shared that he was following suit by dabbling in sustainable agricultural projects in Freehold Township to garner community support for agriculture. He shared his concerns for corporate cannabis and the products they provide. He explained that the products frequently contained mold and synthetic nutrients and was concerned that the quality would be worse for recreational cannabis. He stated that he would like to see Sweet Virginia Soil Company be the first sustainable, carbon sequestering, cannabis-producing company to be established in Randolph and pave the way for industry leaders and corporate cannabis to change what they’re doing and see what the grassroots level can do. He thanked the committee for considering everyone’s point of view.

Adam Sari of Branchburg Township, Somerset County, shared that he was a cannabis patient who recently met with Sanjay Chaudhari. He shared that he was looking into the possibility of investing with Mr. Chaudhari as he liked his business plan and fully supported it. He stated that liquor stores were on every corner of every NJ town and commented that naysayers frequently say that the drugs would get to the kids. He explained that the kids would get to it whether it was illegal or not and cited underage drinking as an example. He stated that it was important to get the decision right and end prohibition, which has severely impacted minority communities and people of color. He believed that it was likely that cannabis would be decriminalized on the federal level.

Councilwoman Carey stated that the committee was double-checking that everyone seeking to speak had spoken.

Sanjay Chaudhari wanted to speak more on the business aspects of cannabis as he has been meeting with many people in the town and surrounding areas.

Councilwoman Carey informed Mr. Chaudhari that each participant was allotted 3 minutes to keep the forum fair for everyone. She recalled that Mr. Chaudhari indicated that he was going to be sending something to the committee in writing. She informed him that he could email the forum at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this e-mail address) for it to be distributed to the committee.

She thanked everyone for participating in the forum and appreciated their input. She stated that the committee would be providing answers to the questions that were posed during the forum to the whole community. She informed the public that a second forum would be scheduled.


Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program Phase 4

Posted: April 16, 2021

On Wednesday, April 14, 2021, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced the launch of Phase 4 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, adding $85 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Phase 4 of the program will provide short-term immediate payroll and working capital support to small and medium-sized businesses and non-profits that have been impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interested business owners will need to pre-register to access the application. Pre-registration will begin on Monday, April 19, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. and close on April 29, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Businesses that do not pre-register will not be eligible for phase 4 grants. Grant awards will be calculated based on the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) businesses employ.

More information about the grant program


Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off

Posted: April 15, 2021

The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (MCMUA) will conduct a Household Hazardous Waste Disposal event on Saturday, May 22, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy, 500 West Hanover Avenue in Parsippany.

Morris County residents will be able to drop-off unwanted hazardous materials from their households. Businesses are not allowed to participate.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all participants must wear face coverings, keep their vehicle windows closed, and stay in their vehicles for the duration of the event while on the premises. The MCMUA is requesting that all materials be stored in the trunk, cargo area or bed of the vehicle.

As of 2018, electronic devices (e-waste) will no longer be accepted at MCMUA one-day household hazardous waste events. The authority advises residents to call 973.829.8006 for information and to discuss recycling options.

Acceptable materials include: pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, oil-based paints, stains, paint thinners and removers, solvents, automotive fluids, rechargeable and button cell batteries, pool chemicals, darkroom chemicals, aerosol cans (not empty), propane cylinders, small quantities of asbestos (wetted, double bagged and sealed with duct tape), driveway sealant, roofing tar, fluorescent bulbs, PCB-ballasts, mercury thermometers and switches, household cleaning products, and muriatic acid. View event flyer .

Latex paint will not be accepted, nor will explosive or highly reactive materials, such as picric acid or nitro compounds. For information about safe disposal of explosive or reactive material, call 973.829.8006.

There is a $5.00 fee for each barbeque-sized propane cylinder. Payment must be made by check only.

For more information, call 973.829.8006 or visit the MCMUA website.


Coronavirus Information Update

Posted: April 7, 2021

All information, alerts and announcements related to the current COVID-19 situation are now posted on this separate page »

STATE INFORMATION

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) has released updated guidance concerning travel restrictions, quarantine time frames, and fully vaccinated persons. The information includes Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for domestic and international travel.

Individuals no longer need to quarantine or get tested before/after domestic travel if they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months:

  • It has been more than two weeks since you received your second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
  • It has been more than two weeks since your received your first and only dose of the Janssen/Johnson and Johnson vaccine; or,
  • You have clinically recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months.

The CDC continues to recommend that travel is deferred until an individual is fully vaccinated; the state continues to discourage all non-essential travel.

Additionally, the CDC has provided health and safety information for fully vaccinated individuals in non-healthcare settings such as indoor visits with vaccinated and unvaccinated persons, travel, close contact quarantine, and gatherings. Learn more