By WILLIAM CLARK
The Ocean Township Council introduced an ordinance amending the zoning and taxation of cannabis businesses.
The original ordinance regarding cannabis businesses originally was adopted in August 2021. This ordinance, according to Mayor John Napolitani, didn’t establish the taxation percentage regarding the different types of licenses and sales. This includes two percent per sale for cultivators, manufacturers and distributors and one percent per sale for wholesalers.
“Those are the taxes that will be imposed once they open up,” Napolitani said.
In addition, the council also established that cannabis businesses can only operate in sections of town zoned for light industrial usage. This includes areas south of Deal Road and west of Route 35.
The township does not currently have an operating cannabis business but the council did provide a letter of support in the spring of 2022 for Illicit, a cannabis cultivation company that was expected to pursue a 100,000-square-foot grow facility off Sunset Avenue.
“We have not heard from these guys,” Napolitani said. “Not sure why they have not put a shovel in the ground yet.”
Napolitani characterized the process as in a holding pattern.
Ocean has only approved licenses for the cultivation, manufacturing, distributing and wholesalers however no business has been established yet. The township did not approve retail or delivery options.
Napolitani addressed those concerned with moving forward with welcoming cannabis businesses into the township.
“It has been legalized, towns around us have decided to put facilities in their municipalities,” he said. “Right now Ocean Township residents can hop across Route 66 and go to Zen Leaf [in Neptune] or go to Eatontown. The tax dollars are flying out of my town.”
Retail sales were allowed in New Jersey starting April 21, 2022. Neptune’s Zen Leaf has been operating since the township approved its license for Aug. 5, 2022.