The Jersey City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance capping the number of adult-use cannabis dispensaries in the city at 55.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
“I know that we have some questions and concerns. Since this is first reading, I hope we can work those out before second reading,” Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley said before voting yes.
“We have had roughly 55 applications so far. The [Jersey City Cannabis Control] Board has approved 23. 19 of 23 were labeled as ‘diverse.’ That’s where we came from with the data. We’ll talk to the council more and have more conversations prior to second reading,” Business Administrator John Metro explained
He clarified that in this instance, diverse is used to indicate a woman and/or minority-owned businesses.
“We have some had people reach out to the council with suggestions as well, so it would be good to have these conversations going forward,” Ward A Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey said.
Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano made it clear that he was nowhere near convinced.
“55 pot places throughout Jersey City I think is a disgrace and a shame,” he said before voting against the measure.
“I want to comment on the fact that this is as an ongoing conversation. We don’t know if it’s going to be 55. We definitely want to encourage transparency when it comes to numbers,” Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh said.
He also mentioned that he liked the diversity in the applicants approved by the CCB thus far.
“It’s not a problem right now, but 50 percent of licenses should be for woman or minority- owned businesses. We need to continue to help the people most desperately impacted by the war on cannabis,” Saleh added.
Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore said they needed more dialogue on how the dispensaries impact each ward, as well as how many many each ward will have.
“Councilman, to your question at the meeting, we’re working on plotting them on the map,” Metro noted.
Councilwoman-at-Large Amy DeGise agreed that there should be further discussions of that nature before voting yes.
The first reading passed 7-1, with Boggiano voting no and Council President Joyce Watterman was absent.
“Thank you for looking out for me and other people that are social equity. I’m glad you’re looking out for me and others who have been affected,” local applicant Rafael Corona said at the podium.
Liliana Hollandt, a Bulgarian immigrant who is seeking a retail license, also praised the decision and asked them to consider locals first.
For the moment, here are no caps on other adult-use cannabis licenses for manufacturing, cultivation, distribution, nor delivery. The CCB, thus far, has only approved dispensaries.
The governing body also unanimously (8-0) gave full municipal approval to another dispensary, Garden Greenz, which plans to operate at 190 Newark Ave. They had previously been approved by the CCB by a 4-0(1) vote.