The Vernon Township Council introduced a new ordinance allowing up to three cannabis retailers.
The ordinance was introduced Aug. 10 in a 3-2 vote, with Toni Cilli and Kelly Weller opposing the introduction.
The council’s previous ordinance didn’t allow any retail sales in the township. The new ordinance allows three cannabis retailers as a conditional use in all commercial and retail zones.
Councilman Andrew Pitsker suggested the definition of retailer be revised to include not only recreational retailers but also medical dispensaries. Retail establishments are still limited in number to three.
This amendment also passed 3-2, with Cilli and Weller voting against.
Cilli suggested amending the distance a retail cannabis establishment can be from any school, public park, public ballfield, or child care center, or the Vernon PAL facility.
The original draft prohibited cannabis establishments within less than 1,000 feet of these places, but the council unanimously changed the requirement to 2,000 feet.
The ordinance also calls for 15 percent of the tax on the gross sales of retail cannabis to be put toward training Vernon Township police officers, drug recognition experts, and substance abuse educational programs.
The ordinance also allocates 10 percent of tax revenue to the Municipal Zoning Department for administration and enforcement.
The township further introduced an ordinance that will allow Vernon to collect tax on cannabis sales.
The ordinance will allow the township to collect a 1 percent tax on cannabis retailers and a 2 percent tax on the other five classes of cannabis licenses.
“I have tried to make it clear that I believe that it’s in our best interest of our town’s taxpayers that we also give our town the opportunity to compete for the commercial tax dollars that could result from the retail sales of adult use cannabis,” Mayor Howard Burrell said.
Last November, more than 70 percent of Vernon Township voters supported the statewide proposition to legalize marijuana.