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Hackettstown OK’s Cannabis Growers

Officials say businesses already showing interest

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Town Council adopted an ordinance at their Thursday night meeting allowing cannabis growers to open up shop. Until now, Hackettstown prohibited all types of cannabis-related business. Retail dispensaries are still banned for now, but council is considering another ordinance to address retail in the future.  

No one from the public took the opportunity to comment on the new land development ordinance, which council approved unanimously. 

“It’s a solid ordinance, I think it’s gonna do the town well,” Councilman Scott Sheldon said during the vote.

Hackettstown will collect a 2% tax on business-to-business cannabis transfers and any future retail sales, as well as 1% tax on wholesale.

Officials say they’ve already heard from entrepreneurs that want to move in.

“We’ve been approached by numerous people,” Hackettstown Mayor, Jerry DiMaio, said. “It seems like there’s quite a bit of interest out on the Bilby Road area.”

That’s essentially the only part of town where a cultivation facility could go because they have to be in a light manufacturing zone at least one thousand feet away from any school, college, or university. 

DiMaio said he’s heard from a party interested in buying a 180,000-square-foot building formerly occupied by Compac Corporation.  The facility could bring between 100 and 200 jobs to Hackettstown, according to Councilman Jim Lambo. 

Though it could be months before New Jersey grants new licenses for growers. 

The state’s newly-formed Cannabis Regulatory Commission said earlier this month that they were working as quickly as possible to process applications and award 24 licenses that were held up by a lawsuit last year. Licenses will get split up between growers, distributors, and dispensaries. 

If and when cannabis business comes to Hackettstown, town rules might make it hard to tell. 

All grow operations must be indoors, with a 7-foot fence surrounding the property and burglary-prevention measures in place. Growers can’t put up any signage indicating the nature of their business, according to the ordinance. 

As for dispensaries, Mayor DiMaio said that council’s ordinance committee is drafting a proposal to address retail sales. He didn’t provide a timeline for that measure, but said they aim to take action before Aug. 22. If municipalities don’t adopt rules by that deadline, state law prevents them from prohibiting or restricting any kind of cannabis business for a five year period.  

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