The owner of a Wantage Township hemp business is seeking a state cannabis license to open a retail shop in Sussex Borough, which allows up to four retail establishments in certain areas.
To help his chances, Marcus Luce on March 10 sought a letter of support from the Wantage Committee.
“We have to submit an application packet to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, and there are many community stakeholders or organizations who can say, ‘Hey, if you like what these guys are doing, or we support them,’ that helps in the process,” Luce said.
But the committee wasn’t quite ready to give him that endorsement.
“I’m still okay with it personally, but we’re going to take a little time to mull this over,” Mayor Ron Bassani said. “That’s what this committee is all about. It’s three opinions up here. Three minds, and that helps us not make mistakes.”
Cannabis commerce is prohibited in Wantage Township except for the delivery of cannabis items and related supplies for a delivery service.
“I understand that it’s regulated and it’s no big deal, but it is a big deal if it’s going to tax our resources,” said Committeeman Jon Morris, who added that he though legalizing marijuana was a bad idea for the state. “I think it creates a lot of health issues, so I’m not a big fan.”
Morris said he needed more time, and that he would like to come and see M&S Products, where Luce grows hemp.
Hemp plants and marijuana plants belong to the same species. But the law defines hemp as a cannabis plant that contains 0.3 percent or less of its active ingredient, THC, while marijuana is a cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3 percent THC.
Committeeman Bill Gaechter said he hasn’t seen Luce’s business and that he’d like to take a look at it. He said he wasn’t sure whether the committee should be picking and endorsing private businesses.
In order to get a full approval from the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, the municipality the business is located in does have to pass a resolution formally endorsing the application.
“I am just asking for a cherry on top from you guys for our application based on our tenure in the town and what we’ve done so far,” Luce said.
Luce wouldn’t need an endorsement from the committee to expand his hemp business but would have to go before the Land Use Board if he wanted to expand.