On May 1, 2019, the City of Newark Municipal Council adopted Ordinance 18-1970 (the "Ordinance") by a 7-0 vote amending several sections of the City’s Land Development Ordinance to permit as conditional uses medical marijuana alternative treatment centers, medical marijuana cultivation facilities, medical marijuana manufacturing facilities, and medical marijuana safety compliance facilities (collectively, the “Medical Marijuana Uses”) in specified zoning districts within the City. The majority of the public who attended the hearing were in support of the amendment. Hon. LaMonica McIver, Councilwoman for the Central Ward, commended the Administration and Council for taking a proactive approach not only to permitting the Medical Marijuana Uses in the City, but also to ensuring the City retains control over how and where they should operate.
The Ordinance amends the City’s Land Development Ordinance setting forth five specific nonresidential zones where some or all of the Medical Marijuana Uses are allowed. In each instance, the use is a conditional use, subject to twelve specific conditional use standards. The Ordinance also amends and supplements the definitions section of the Land Development Ordinance to mirror those contained in the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, codified at N.J.S.A. 24:6I-1, et. seq.
The Ordinance comes on the heels of the New Jersey Department of Health (“DOH”), Medical Marijuana Division’s April 1, 2019 biennial report, which noted that current medical marijuana alternative treatment centers “have struggled to keep pace with a growing patient population.” While many cities have shied away from any form of support for marijuana businesses (whether medical or adult use recreational), the Ordinance clearly announces to those looking to enter into this burgeoning industry that Newark is officially open for business.