July 14, 2021

Cannabis Task Force Updates Community On Status of Development of Ordinances

To the Editor:

The Cannabis Task Force (CTF), appointed by the Municipality of Princeton, has been hard at work. We would like to update Princeton residents on the status of the development of ordinances for licenses to grow, process, and sell cannabis for adult recreational use in Princeton. As cannabis delivery will be available throughout the state, the CTF recommends that Princeton set optimal parameters around local ordinances for our community as soon as possible. The Princeton community voted overwhelmingly in support of legalization in the 2020 election, and a public forum held by the CTF confirmed our community’s support of adult recreational use of cannabis, so long as our policies and educational materials promote safety and social justice. The CTF is working on an initial ordinance to allow the retail sale of recreational and medical cannabis, with plans to consider other cannabis licenses at a later date.

The state set an early deadline of August 21 for municipalities to pass ordinances for opting in or opting out of licenses. However, the legal consensus in the state is that municipalities that opt in cannot then opt out for a period of five years, while municipalities that initially opt out may opt in at any time. When a municipality opts in, it sets an ordinance for their community’s licenses that establishes guidelines and restrictions in addition to the state’s licensing legislation. Municipal ordinances determine where dispensaries can be located and establish community requirements for dispensary owners. Given that our community needs more time to develop requirements that fit Princeton’s values and needs, Princeton will temporarily opt out, with the goal of developing an ordinance by early fall to opt in. This will allow the CTF time to solicit community input and examine legislation in states where cannabis is legalized to inform its recommendations.

Specifically, the goals of the task force in developing the ordinance for the sale of cannabis will be to ensure that the business districts where dispensaries will be permitted are in locations that will allow for sufficient traffic while preserving the culture of the neighborhood. Additional concerns to be addressed after an ordinance is passed include providing a framework for the use of tax revenue to benefit the entire Princeton community while promoting our values of social justice. The CTF will also develop recommendations for a comprehensive education campaign to urge residents of all ages to make responsible and informed choices regarding the use of cannabis.

The CTF welcomes public input. Let us know your thoughts by attending our next public meeting or by emailing your Princeton Council representatives.

Princeton Cannabis Task Force