Yes, there is a statutory deadline. Based on the CREAMM Act, municipalities have until August 21, 2021, to decide whether to allow or ban recreational cannabis businesses in their towns.
The failure of a municipality to enact an ordinance banning one or more classes of cannabis businesses shall result in any class of cannabis businesses not prohibited from operating within the municipality as being automatically permitted to operate in the municipality:
- Operating as a cannabis cultivator, manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, or delivery service shall be permitted uses in all industrial zones of the municipality;
- Operating as a cannabis retailer shall be a conditional use in all commercial zones or retail zones, though they must still meet any applicable zoning ordinance or get a variance in accordance with the “Municipal Land Use Law,” P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-1 et seq.).
Yes, municipalities that opted out prior to the statutory deadline of August 21, 2021, can opt-in and allow those cannabis businesses at any time.
So long as it does not conflict with the CREAMM Act, a municipality may enact an ordinance or regulation to:
- Determine which classes of cannabis businesses are allowed in their jurisdiction, and how many of each class;
- Regulate location and hours of operation for cannabis businesses, except for the times of operation of a licensed delivery service. Local regulations may include requirements that a cannabis business premises be a certain distance from the closest church, synagogue, temple, or other place used exclusively for religious worship; or from the closest school, playground, park, or child daycare facility;
- Levy local taxes of up to 2%;
- Institute additional local approval processes, though local fees must be reasonable;
- Enact civil penalties for violations within the municipality; and
- Weigh in with the CRC on preferences for license applicants.
A local government official shall not solicit from a cannabis business, and a cannabis business shall not offer, anything of value in exchange for zoning approval, proof of local support, or written approval for such cannabis business.
A municipality can restrict cannabis delivery service businesses, but in no case may a municipality restrict the transportation or delivery of cannabis items within the municipality. Any such restriction shall be deemed void and unenforceable.
Yes. The rate of a transfer tax established shall be at the discretion of the municipality, but in no case shall a local rate exceed:
- 2% of the receipts from each sale by a cannabis cultivator;
- 2% of the receipts from each sale by a cannabis manufacturer;
- 1% of the receipts from each sale by a cannabis wholesaler; or
- 2% of the receipts from each sale by a cannabis retailer.
Any local transfer tax must be accompanied by a user tax on any cannabis business operating more than one business location. The user tax must be equivalent to the transfer tax rate and imposed on the value of each transfer or use of cannabis between one business location and another business location, regardless of whether the second business location is in a different municipality.
The CREAMM Act authorizes municipalities to enact ordinances or regulations governing the number of cannabis establishments within their borders. Each city is responsible for establishing and enforcing its own rules for getting local approval to operate a cannabis business in the jurisdiction.
Under the CREAMM Act, municipalities wishing to limit the classes of cannabis businesses permitted in their jurisdiction have until August 21, 2021, to enact an ordinance specifying restrictions prohibiting the operation of one or more classes of cannabis businesses. Any municipality that does not pass an ordinance to this effect by the deadline will have to wait 5 years before trying to pass a restriction ordinance. If, after the 5-year period, a municipality enacts an ordinance to prohibit one or more classes of cannabis businesses, the prohibition shall be prospective only and not apply to any cannabis business already operating in the municipality.
Municipal officials should consult with their municipal counsel for legal advice on what actions are permitted under the law.
The CRC will not issue a license to an applicant that would be in violation of a local ordinance or regulation.
Generally, an adult 21 years of age or older can use cannabis on private property where property owners allow. The CREAMM Act does not permit people to smoke or vape cannabis in any public place or in indoor public spaces as defined in N.J.S.A. 26:3D-57. Public smoking laws also apply to cannabis smoking, and municipalities may enact additional restrictions on public consumption.
The CRC is working to compile a list of impact zones as defined in N.J.S.A. 24:6I-33 and expects to provide this information in the near future.
The CREAMM Act does not prohibit municipalities from developing their own initiatives to promote equity in the cannabis industry. As such, municipalities can establish local licensing systems and service programs as they wish, so long as they do not conflict with the CREAMM Act of any regulation promulgated by the Commission. Municipal officials should consult with their municipal counsel for legal advice on what program provisions are permitted under the law.