🔵 Most New Jersey municipalities do not permit cannabis businesses

🔵 Towns that have opted in can't opt out for a number of years

🔵 Opt-outs can decide to join in at any time

Like most New Jersey municipalities, Englishtown decided ahead of an August 2021 deadline to not get involved with New Jersey's adult-use cannabis market ... for the time being.

Fast forward to 2024, and officials in the Monmouth County borough are counting on a couple retail dispensaries to open their doors to the public by early summer.

"I think this is going to be a huge boon for the town when it all shakes out," Englishtown Mayor Daniel Francisco told New Jersey 101.5.

The borough was flooded with interest from entrepreneurs between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, when a shuffle of leadership paved the way for Englishtown to opt in to the market.

Ruuted dispensary coming to Englishtown (Facebook)
Ruuted dispensary coming to Englishtown (Facebook)

According to Francisco, the introduction of cannabis retailers is just one piece of a downtown rebirth — currently, the area is a "ghost town."

"I have zero fears about this being a logistical or safety problem," Francisco. "It's going to be profitable."

Municipalities in New Jersey that failed to enact an ordinance banning cannabis licenses ahead of August 2021 are governed by state law and must stick with their decision for five years.

But towns that opted out are permitted to join in at any time. And the Garden State has seen some municipalities come aboard since the recreational market went live in April 2022.

In late March, officials in Haddon Township, Camden County, voted to scrap the town's original choice to opt out of permitting cannabis businesses. According to minutes from a meeting of the Board of Commissioners, a public hearing on the topic was scheduled for April 23.

According to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, only about a third of municipalities in the state have opted in as of now. The state is home to more than 130 dispensaries.

The New Jersey State League of Municipalities noted that not all towns that opted out initially were "philosophically opposed to legalization" — they just needed more time to digest what they'd be approving. The organization expected most municipalities to opt out, knowing they'd have the option to get involved after evaluating the market.

"I doubt we'll ever see a groundswell of towns opting in," said Michael Cerra, NJLM's executive director. "The market will eventually settle and there will always be some minor movement of towns opting both in and out once that happens."

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