Vernon Council approves cannabis rule change

Cannabis ordinance now limited to three cultivators

Vernon /
| 14 Jun 2022 | 12:10

The Vernon Township Council on Monday amended its cannabis ordinance to allow three cannabis cultivators in the township’s light industrial zone.

The council also approved a second amendment that affirmed the R-2 zone mentioned in the ordinance is indeed located west of County Road 517.

The amended ordinance was reintroduced at Monday’s Township Council meeting, and a second reading and public hearing is expected on June 27.

The township currently has two companies – Sussex Cultivation and Garden State Green Genetics – that have conditional cannabis cultivator licenses and they must provide the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) a host of documents by Aug. 9 to meet the conditions needed to maintain their licenses.

According to Chris Dowling of Sussex Cultivation, the company is confident their final approval will be forthcoming, and their proposed location is on a “rural piece of underutilized property here in town.”

Two months ago, the NJCRC limited the number of conditional cannabis cultivation licensing awards and is not expected to issue any more for at least two years.

Both companies received support in the form of a resolution from the Vernon Township Council on Dec. 13, 2021. Garden State Green Genetics intended to establish its facility at 1761 Route 565 and Sussex Cultivation intended to establish its facility at 1785 Route 565.

The council recently introduced Ordinance 22-11, which would have allowed an unlimited number of cannabis cultivators in the light industrial zone and also taken away the restriction of two cultivators in the McAfee Village Mixed Use Zone. It also allowed cultivators on R-2 (low-density residential properties) with a minimum of six acres located west of Route 517 and on R-1 Zone (rural residential) properties with a minimum of six acres on the northbound side of Route 517.

The township’s Land Use Board found the proposal for the R-2 and R-1 zones to be inconsistent with the township’s master plan, but recommended to not allow cannabis cultivators in the township’s R-1 zone.

The council declined to remove the R-1 zone from the ordinance, and R-1 Zone properties with a minimum of six acres located on the northbound side of Route 517.

Township attorney Josh Zielinski said the ordinance does not need to go back to the Land Use Board because the amendments only change the number of cultivators allowed and the other amendment only clarifies what was originally stated.