BEACH HAVEN – Vacationers or residents of Beach Haven who want to purchase cannabis just lost their final option to do so legally.
The Beach Haven Borough Council became the last Long Beach Island governing body to outlaw sales, cultivation, and manufacture of marijuana products. However, as it now stands, the ordinance comes with an indefinite time frame.
While many local residents favored banning any type of weed shop in the small borough, one borough couple found themselves potentially shut out of a prospective business opportunity.
Chris and Andrea Weidling of Beach Haven planned to seek a dispensary license at the borough’s July 12 meeting. However, authorities announced postponement of the presentation that same morning.
The Mayor and Council instead moved to consider action on the ordinance prohibiting the operation of any class of cannabis business within the municipality. The final reading and passing of the ordinance on July 29 seemingly made the Weidlings presentation a moot issue.
The Weidlings provided a written overview of their plans and credentials in a document entitled Beach Haven Dispensary Concept Overview. The couple has owned equity in cannabis-related projects in six states and Canada. Chris has worked exclusively in the cannabis industry since 2013; Andrea is involved in holistic living and wellness.
The overview covers everything from understanding how cannabis works, potential product formats, as well as financial considerations. The proposal targeted customers over the age of 21 and was seen as a better alternative to cannabis delivery services.
Paul Sullivan, a 50-year resident of Long Beach Island, said he and his wife relocated to their present address two years ago. They sought a quieter life from what they viewed as shameful.
“We moved because it just became too unbearable,” began Sullivan. “The noise, the disruption, the number of kids walking in packs and in droves carrying open beer bottles and leaving them on our front yards.”
Sullivan feared that opening a dispensary would create an unruly atmosphere that would not be acceptable. He wanted to know why the council did not send out a survey to the community of 1200 residents and solicit their opinions.
With that in mind, Sullivan approached as many property owners as he could locate in the borough and surveyed them. He determined that eighty percent objected to a dispensary.
As far as projected tax revenue, Sullivan calculated that if the town would receive just $188,000, it made more sense to raise taxes by $156 per household.
“We will leave because we can afford to leave,” Sullivan said. “Others will leave too, and we will just go to the north end (of the island.)”
Adam Sherman from Beach Haven spoke in opposition to the council’s decision to ban cannabis dispensaries. He talked of fear-mongering as the basis for the resistance.
“This is a failure of the leadership to take fact-based evidence to make an informed decision,” stated Sherman.
According to Sherman, the governing body failed to do their due diligence as far as investigating other communities where marijuana dispensaries currently exist. Sherman claimed there is a reduction in crime, alcohol-related deaths, and acts of violence.
New Jersey municipalities have only one more week to decide whether or not they will allow pot shops to do business. Failure to pass an ordinance banning marijuana businesses by August 21 means they can’t be stopped for another five years.