After more than seven months of meetings, the Princeton Cannabis Task Force (CTF) has recommended that a retail cannabis business be allowed in the city.
The task force consists of city council members, local public health and safety experts, business representatives, and concerned citizens. The group submitted its first proposal to Princeton City Council on Tuesday, November 30.
In the proposal, the CTC talked about potential dispensary locations, fairness and racial justice, and how tax revenue should be allocated.
City Council Member and CTF President Eve Nedergang GS ’85 told The Daily Princetonian it hoped the group could submit an actual order to the council by “late January or February”.
The combined task force has proposed five potential dispensary areas, three of which are within walking distance of the university. This area includes the Dinky Area South, the intersection of Harrison Street and Nassau Street, and Witherspoon Street between Green Street and Valley Road.
Other suggestions are the Central Business District and Route 206 North. The CTC also recommends that these locations be at least 200 feet away from schools, the same limitation as liquor stores.
It was marijuana certified in New Jersey in November 2020, where more than 75 percent of Princeton voters approved the measure. The CTF was created in March 2021 to determine the best ways to bring marijuana into the Princeton area.
Among the six options for recreational marijuana licenses in the city offered by the state of New Jersey Law (Agriculture, Manufacturing, Wholesaling, Distribution, Retail and Delivery), CTF has decided to focus on retail and medical licenses for the time being, with future recommendations planned for the rest. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission is not acceptable Medical marijuana dispensaries applications at this time.
“We decided to focus on retail because it better meets the need of the Princeton community more directly,” CTF member Milan Vaclavic said at the meeting.
Property rights are a top priority in planning, according to CTC members. The group’s goal in allowing retail marijuana is to positively address the grievances of the war on drugs, such as its inappropriateness Effect on communities of color, both in Princeton and across the country.
“The recommendations just released by the CTF are only the beginning, and we hope that future recommendations will delve into how Princeton can advance racial justice through the legalization of cannabis,” CTF member Udi Ofer wrote in an email to Prince.
Ofer is the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Division of Justice and a lecturer in the School of Public and International Affairs.
“This is an issue of racial justice at its core,” he added.
The CTF plans to be intentional about who it grants licenses to. Specifically, you plan to research local owners, those from the black and Latinx community, women, disabled veterans, and those who have been convicted of cannabis-related offenses. Many of these groups also fall under Priority application situation through New Jersey.
The CTC also hopes to remove the stigma around a product that has already been legalized in New Jersey and provide safe access to cannabis for adults over 21.
Another objective of the CTF is to allow on-site consumption in dispensaries. The goal of on-site consumption is to create a safe space for those who are part of the university, in subsidized housing, or parents who do not want to eat in front of their children.
In addition, the staff hopes to ensure that the dispensaries are accessible to everyone and available either on foot or by public transportation. She would also like to see dispensaries open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, so that a variety of residents have the opportunity to purchase them, no matter what time they work.
However, the Tobacco Control Fund (CTF) has cautioned about the potential negative effects of allowing retail marijuana to be sold in Princeton.
“It’s really important for the community to be aware of the risks of cannabis use so that people make fully informed decisions,” Vaclavic said. “So, in addition to focusing on racial equity and concepts of social justice, we want to focus on those educational concepts as well as community education that will particularly help reduce abuse.”
New state laws legalizing recreational cannabis use for adults also allow cannabis delivery, although the CTF does not currently focus on this option.
“There will be cannabis available in the city via delivery even if the dispensary is not in the city,” Christine Applegate, director of community and regional affairs at the university and a member of the CTF, said in an email to The Prince.
Princeton will collect 2 percent tax revenue from all retail cannabis sales. The city can choose whether or not to allocate all or part of the revenue to social justice issues. The CTC has also noted that it is not interested in opening clinics for tax revenue.
During the public comment section, there were many arguments for and against both dispensaries coming to town, and concerns about the formation of the CTF itself. Many people were concerned about the lack of Asian representation in the CTF.
“[There is] Nedergang said in an interview with “Prince.”
“Maybe we can use this [concern] To open lines of communication, so that there are advocates from the community and members of the community that we will be keen to communicate with in the future.”
Another concern expressed by a number of residents at the meeting was safety, echoing the pressure on marijuana legalization that was expressed in Previous meetings of the Counter-Terrorism Committee.
“I moved to this city because this is a safe area. Now I have to rethink right? Do I need to sell my house [and move] Back to my old town? Said one of the concerned citizens.
Previous CTC members responded to this disapproval by citing overwhelming support from Princeton voters for the legalization of marijuana.
Other citizens, who saw that marijuana actually existed in the city, took a different approach to the discussion.
“I think the issue is that we already have marijuana in Princeton already. The question is, are we going to try to regulate that? And how are we going to deal with the fact that people are going to use it in the future?” said another citizen.
As for the effects of this proposal on the university, CTF members believe there will be little or none.
Valeria Torres Olivares 22, who serves as a representative general manager Not in our town on CTF.
The university has previously said it will not change Marijuana Regulations Because it is required to comply with federal law because it receives federal funding, marijuana has not been legalized at the federal level.
The next Princeton City Council meeting will take place on Monday, December 13th at 7 p.m. over Zoom. The next meeting of the Counter-Terrorism Committee will be held on Thursday, December 16th at 1:30 pm.
Leah Oberman is a news writer for The Prince. It can be accessed at firstname.lastname@example.org oliamariaaaa on Instagram.
Charlie Roth is a news contributor to The Prince. It can be accessed at email@example.com or @imcharlieroth on Twitter or Instagram.