The North Bergen Board of Commissioners presented the ordinance at their November 23 meeting.

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The North Bergen Board of Commissioners presented the ordinance at their November 23 meeting.

North Bergen’s Board of Commissioners has issued an ordinance that would amend the community’s pre-existing cannabis ordinance to further define regulations and restrictions.

The regulation would amend the original regulation adopted in July to: lay down specific rules for micro cannabis businesses; put additional restrictions on the number of cannabis businesses in the community; Include medical cannabis-related companies in various requirements of the regulation; and provide additional factors for the cannabis committee to consider when evaluating cannabis business applications.

In order to operate a cannabis business in North Bergen, a company must first have permits or licenses from both the state and the municipality. The community would issue its one-year license through the cannabis committee, which consists of the community administrator, the chief of police, and the community improvement director or their agent.

Including micro businesses

Township Counsel Tom Kobin described the changes made to the original ordinance at the November 23 meeting.

“When we passed the first cannabis regulation in July, it focused solely on adult use,” said Kobin. “So we’re going to allow two adult dispensaries, retail stores. They will be admitted along Tonnelle Avenue, one downtown and one downtown. “

Under the regulation, only two community-issued licenses would be issued to cannabis retailers, which are defined as establishments where “cannabis items and related supplies are sold to consumers”. But now micro-businesses and medical cannabis pharmacies count towards the two-retailer limit.

“One of the things that came up was that we didn’t define how we would deal with micro-businesses,” he said. “These are smaller businesses with fewer employees, 2,500 square feet or less. People asked if this was one of the two adult retail stores, things like that. One of the changes we made is to say that a micro business counts toward the upper limit of authorized licenses. “

One retailer would be north of 43rd and the other would be south of it. They must not be within 300 meters of each other or within range of a school.

Limitation of the number of licenses

“We have not imposed any restrictions on the number of breeders, distributors and wholesalers allowed,” he said. “We carried out pole delivery services from their stationary locations in Nordbergen, but otherwise we had no limit on the number of cultivators. We excluded cannabis use in the original regulation, which is still the case. “

The new regulation would restrict the licenses for cannabis growers, dealers, manufacturers and wholesalers allowed in the community’s industrial areas. Three licenses are issued for each type, one of which is a micro business.

“We want to make sure we are careful and small-step with growers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors,” he said. “We want to limit that. So this change allows up to three of these categories, one of which is a micro-enterprise. “

According to the regulation, micro-businesses are not allowed to expand to a standard license. Breeders or wholesalers of medical cannabis would be allowed and count towards the three license limit for each type.

“We had to deal with licenses for medicinal cannabis,” he said. “That was not part of the original regulation. So when a medical license is issued, it is in the same zones in terms of zoning. Medical dispensaries would be in the Tonnelle Avenue corridor, in the same zone as the adult retail outlets. Medical growers and manufacturers would be in the industrial zone, as would adult use. And if there is a medical license, it will count towards our upper limit. “

Further changes coming?

Cannabis delivery services and consumption areas are still prohibited. There would be a total of 14 establishments, including two retailers, three growers, three wholesalers, three manufacturers, and three distributors.

“We’re careful,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “Many communities have rejected all cannabis use, retail, cultivation, or cultivation in their city. So it’s 70 percent off. We are among the 30 percent who are there. I think thats right. It’s legal in New Jersey, and we should at least get the financial benefit of having it within our limits. “

Kobin agreed with Sacco that the regulation will probably be changed again in the future: “We will see how things go with these caps and how things develop …”

A public hearing on the ordinance will take place at the next meeting of the North Bergen Board of Commissioners on December 8th at 11 a.m. at City Hall on 4233 Kennedy Boulevard. For more information, visit northbergen.org and click on the event on the calendar webpage.

For updates on this and other stories, visit www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.