By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Sea Isle City plans to ban the sale of marijuana and will also prohibit the use of cannabis in public places such as the beaches.
City Council is expected to introduce an ordinance at its meeting 10 a.m. Tuesday that includes a blanket prohibition of the sale, manufacture and distribution of both recreational and medical marijuana in the resort town.
“The City of Sea Isle City considers the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, sale or distribution of medicinal and recreational marijuana and/or the paraphernalia that facilitates the use of such marijuana within the City to be detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare of the City,” the ordinance says.
In addition to prohibiting the sale of marijuana, the ordinance will ban the use of cannabis “in any public area,” including Sea Isle’s beaches, sidewalks and parks.
Sea Isle is responding to New Jersey’s legalization of recreational marijuana this year. Medical marijuana has been legal since 2010. Gov. Phil Murphy signed three bills on Feb. 22 legalizing recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older and to decriminalize it for people under 21.
Under New Jersey’s cannabis laws, marijuana use is limited to private property or inside the home. The laws still ban the smoking or consumption of marijuana in public places, such as a park, beach or inside at a bar or restaurant.
From the start, Sea Isle’s Council has objected to marijuana’s legalization, passing an ordinance in 2019 to preemptively ban the sale of pot in a town that attracts tens of thousands of vacationers during the summer tourism season. In 2019, the governor and state Legislature were discussing the possibility of legalizing marijuana.
Sea Isle’s 2019 ordinance became invalid once New Jersey formally legalized cannabis in February. However, the new state legislation gives municipalities 180 days to reinstate their prohibition of marijuana sales, prompting Sea Isle to propose a new ordinance.
Although marijuana sales would be banned in Sea Isle, cannabis could be delivered to private homes under strict licensing regulations proposed in the ordinance.
“The delivery of any type of cannabis shall be prohibited within the City except by a state-approved dispensary delivery service and by employees of (that) dispensary delivery service provided all of the City licensing requirements are met,” according to the ordinance.
Among the requirements, the delivery service could drop off the cannabis only at private homes and would have to use unmarked vehicles. Deliveries could be made only to the “intended recipient,” the ordinance states.