Union City Planning Board approves measure prohibiting marijuana establishments

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The Union City Planning Board unanimously approved (5-0) a measure prohibiting marijuana establishments within the parameters of their North Hudson municipality.

“The board of commissioners introduced the ordinance and by law they have to refer it to the planning board,” UCPA Counsel Brian Chewcaskie told HCV.

“The planning board found the ordinance consistent with the master plan and now the board of commissioners will take an action whether to adopt the ordinance or not.”

The meeting only lasted for about 10 minutes and the outcome was fairly expected after the board of commissioners voted in favor of the measure last month.

According to Chewcaskie, the city’s planner David Spatz, said that the ordinance is consistent with the Master Plan – in particular the sections that outline preserving the quality of life.

He also pointed out that after Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act on February 22nd and that municipalities would have to decide by August 21st if they would allow marijuana businesses – otherwise it would default as being permitted.

While Union City will be taking a wait and see approach, Chewcaskie also noted “We can revisit this at any time.”

Hector Oseguera, the newest member of the planning board after being appointed by the board of commissioners on April 6th, expressed some reservations about a blanket prohibition, but still voted in the affirmative.

He explained his perspective in a short interview after the meeting had concluded.

“We discussed the ordinance which is a blanket prohibition on the sale of cannabis and I obviously have a lot of thoughts on that issue being involved in the social justice aspect of the cannabis legalization and prohibition,” he began.

“So I just put forth some thoughts, it was a very overwhelming vote on the issue of cannabis legalization and I thought a blanket prohibition was not in that spirit, although I understand where it comes from given that we’re a very densely populated community and I understand that most of the people in Union City would probably agree with the ordinance.”

The Union City Board of Commissioners meets this evening at the Housing Authority Hillside Pavillion, located at 3911 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, at 7 p.m

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