An ordinance that would ban the sale of marijuana within Toms River Township’s borders will be up for a final vote and public hearing Tuesday night.
The council introduced the ordinance last month. The ban would prohibit the sale of marijuana – should it become legal in New Jersey – in the entirety of the township, including commercial and industrial zones. Under the legalization bill most likely to be considered by the legislature and Gov. Phil Murphy, municipalities would have the right to ban dispensaries for five years, at which point they could review the decision and change it.
Murphy, while campaigning for governor last year, pledged to sign a bill legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana and setting up a system to regulate and tax its sale. Legalization or decriminalization has consistently been supported by New Jerseyans in public opinion polls. In an unscientific poll conducted by Toms River Shorebeat, 90 percent of readers who voted (670) said they opposed the marijuana sales ban.
The ordinance was spearheaded by Councilman George Wittmann, who cited a ban as one of his priorities for the year during a reorganizational meeting earlier this month.
The introduction of the ordinance was not passed unanimously; Councilwoman Laurie Huryk abstained from the vote. Under state law, ordinances must be introduced, then voted on for a second time after a public hearing.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the township municipal complex on Washington Street.