N.J. Shore town makes pre-emptive strike against legalized pot sales

Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey

The mayor of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, says marijuana sales are not consistent with the family friendliness of his town. Officials have voted not to allow marijuana sales there should New Jersey legalize recreational pot. (AP file photo)

New Jersey lawmakers are expected to consider legislation in the new year to legalize recreational marijuana in the Garden State. And, with Gov.-elect Phil Murphy in support of the move, it’s quite likely to gain approval.

One Shore town, however, doesn’t want marijuana sales within its borders.

The Point Pleasant Beach council recently passed an ordinance that bans marijuana dispensaries because, Mayor Stephen Reid said, they would not be a good fit for his community.

“It’s a tourism town. We have children here on the rides on the boardwalk. We have a great downtown. We have a great school system,” he said. “And, in our minds, a marijuana dispensary’s not supporting a family-friendly town.”

Calling the ban short sighted, Scott Rudder of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association said he doubts it will jeopardize the potential for a recreational marijuana industry in the state.

“There’s going to be plenty of opportunities for other towns to take advantage of the property tax breaks, the employment opportunities,” he said. “So, no, we’re not concerned about one singular town.”

Stores selling marijuana won’t pose any problems, Rudder said.

“We have operational medical cannabis dispensaries across the state of New Jersey. They behave just like every other storefront,” he said. “They’re part of the community. They’re involved.”

Officials have said it could take more than a year before legal marijuana is available for sale.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.