Should weed become legal in New Jersey, you won’t be able to get it in one Shore beach town.
Point Pleasant Beach has banned marijuana sales, both medicinal and recreational, within town limits. The borough council approved the ban on Dec. 19.
The ordinance outlawing weed sales in Point Pleasant Beach prevents businesses from selling marijuana within a quarter-mile of schools, churches, residential areas or certain business districts. That makes the entire, four-square-mile borough off-limits for marijuana businesses.
Point Pleasant Beach also banned any businesses selling marijuana paraphernalia.
The ordinance comes with a potential downside, though: If New Jersey legalizes cannabis, towns that don’t allow pot sales won’t be able to reap any of the estimated $300 million in tax revenue.
Indeed, the restriction comes as towns all over New Jersey are grappling with how to confront weed legalization, which has become a real possibility with the election of Phil Murphy as New Jersey’s next governor. Murphy has said he would sign a legalization bill within his first 100 days in office. Such a bill would likely allow the possession and use of marijuana for adults aged 21 or older.
Linden has formed a group to study the impact marijuana legalization would have on the city. Councilman Peter Brown said he’s not sure the potential tax revenue would offset problems caused in his town.
“A lot of the research that’s been done, they look at how much money it’s going to bring in from the state and not the effect it’s going to have locally,” Brown said.
Officials from all over the state have been hesitant to say whether they would support marijuana sales in their towns. Many are concerned about enforcement costs, like how to keep people from driving while high.
The legalization bill being considered by the state Legislature — introduced this year by Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Linden — allows municipalities to decide if they want to allow weed sales.
Other states have similar policies. In Colorado, 176 of the state’s 272 municipalities don’t allow marijuana sales, according to the Colorado Municipal League. Colorado has had recreational marijuana since 2014.
Legalization debate appears set to ramp up in the new year. Scutari has said his bill needs work before it could be passed by the Legislature. Other marijuana bills could be introduced in the coming weeks.