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Brick Council Sets Tuesday Vote to Ban Recreational Marijuana Sales, Cultivation,

Marijuana (Photo: Katheirne Hitt/Flickr)

Marijuana (Photo: Katheirne Hitt/Flickr)

In a reversal from Brick officials’ previous statements indicating that the township would hold off on a vote to ban recreational marijuana sales – should cannabis become legal in New Jersey – until the law doing so actually passes, the township council is scheduled to vote to introduce an ordinance that would do just that.

While a copy of the proposed ordinance was not publicly published, a meeting agenda obtained by Shorebeat states that the council will vote to introduce a new ordinance to prohibit “retail sale, cultivation, manufacturing and testing of marijuana products for recreational use” in Brick Township.

The ordinance is restricted only to recreational sales and cultivation, and its effects – if any – on a proposed medical dispensary and grow house off Adamston Road are unknown. The controversial medical marijuana facility has drawn outrage from neighboring residents and, in recent weeks, has become a personal battle between the residents and owners of the proposed facility – devolving to threats of litigation and police reports filed for harassment.

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Mayor John Ducey could not be reached for comment Sunday night. But in the past, Ducey has strongly stated that he is against enacting an ordinance banning recreational cannabis sales before the plant is legalized for recreational use, however he has stated that recreational sales may not be appropriate in Brick.

“I wouldn’t be in favor of having any stores in town selling recreational [marijuana],” Ducey told Shorebeat in November, during an interview in which he also called the 2 percent of sales tax that would be remitted to local municipalities “a joke.”

A few weeks ago, Ducey said he would be in favor of placing the question of recreational sales on a ballot and letting voters decide.

The vote will be taken by the township council; Ducey, as mayor, does not cast a vote, but has veto power as the executive elected officials in town.

Most recently, Ducey cautioned those who favored a pre-emptive ordinance to restrict recreational marijuana sales before the state legislature actually passes a bill to legalize it, and then has it signed by Gov. Phil Murphy.

“[The bill] specifically says that any ordinances or zoning that was done prior to the legislation doesn’t count,” Ducey said. “There’s no reason to waste time doing it beforehand because you’d have to do it all over again.”

In recent weeks, statehouse reporters have revealed that Murphy and state Senate President Steve Sweeney have agreed to a tax rate, which could put legalization on a faster path to approval. Murphy had favored a 25 percent tax rate and Sweeney favored a 12 percent tax rate. The compromise reportedly sets a flat tax of $42 per ounce.

The meeting during which the vote is scheduled to take place will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the township municipal complex on Chambers Bridge Road.

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