Letter to the Editor: Parsippany’s Path Forward on Cannabis

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parsippany focusDear Editor:

In November 67% of NJ voters and 63% of Parsippany voters overwhelmingly supported cannabis legalization leaving behind decades of the cannabis culture wars. This is a new day and the choice in the next 180 days is to respect the will of the voters, put aside personal and/or political ideology and decide how we go about implementing new sources of cash flow for the township.

Cannabis is legal. The only question for the council now: does Parsippany pick up new operating revenue or leave it for our neighboring towns and rely on our residents to balance their budget or take the time to analyze the opportunities and issues to make decisions that best serve the town and respect the choice of the majority of our constituents.

The ordinance presented at the April 6th town council meeting opts out of all cannabis businesses on concerns related to retail establishments. Retail establishments are one (1) of six (6) cannabis business classes.

The six (6) business classes include cultivating, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, and delivery services that are no different than other businesses presently operating in Parsippany and offer municipalities revenue opportunities that provide the town a maximum of 2% from each sale at each stage of the business process. The legislation also allows the township the ability to limit the number and type of businesses allowed, their location and operating hours.

In addition to producing meaningful revenue from cannabis business sales, they will fill empty buildings generating additional revenue rather than have developers acquire these sites and build more housing that puts money in the hands of developers instead of taxpayers, increases traffic, and negatively impacts our schools.

Opting out without further consideration will not mitigate concerns related to individual use and law enforcement issues since Parsippany residents could purchase cannabis products through retail establishments and delivery services from surrounding municipalities and counties and it does little to stop individuals traveling through Parsippany with cannabis products. In addition, legalization offers potential savings related to law enforcement as illegal cannabis operations decline.

Rather than opting out completely, we are looking to reach a fair-minded balance on a reasonable path forward that respects the will of our constituents and realizes the benefits that legalization presents for Parsippany residents.

Council members Janice McCarthy and Emily Peterson

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