The Vernon Township Council on June 27 approved an update to its cannabis ordinance limiting the number of cannabis cultivators in the McAfee Village Mixed Use Zone to no more than three. The amendment was initially issued at the June 9 meeting; the June 27 approval marked the second reading of the change, as well as a continuation of the public hearing on the matter.
The ordinance was adopted by a 3-2 vote with Council President Patrick Rizzuto and Vice President Natalie Buccieri voting against it.
“I’m glad that we were able to adjust the ordinance to honor the commitment to the businesses that have made agreements, such as buying property or leasing property, and other things to set up their business, and I respect that,” Buccieri said. “As a councilperson, I wouldn’t want to put a business owner in a bad financial situation. I’m sure many of you know I don’t support the cultivation or recreational sale of cannabis, but I know this ordinance will pass. So that’s why I’m comfortable voting, ‘no’.”
Now no more than three cultivators are allowed on R-2 Zone properties with a minimum of six acres, located west of Route 517 and on R-1 Zone properties with a minimum of six acres located on the northbound side of Route 517.
The township currently has two companies – Sussex Cultivation and Garden State Green Genetics – that have conditional cannabis cultivator licenses. As previously reported, they must provide the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) with a variety of documents by Aug. 9 to meet the conditions needed to maintain their licenses.
Two months ago, the NJCRC limited the number of conditional cannabis cultivation licensing awards and is not expected to issue any more for at least two years.
Both companies received support in the form of a resolution from the Vernon Township Council on Dec. 13, 2021. Garden State Green Genetics intends to establish its facility at 1761 Route 565 and Sussex Cultivation intends to establish its facility at 1785 Route 565.
The council recently introduced Ordinance 22-11, which would have allowed an unlimited number of cannabis cultivators in the specified zones.