But many municipalities in the state are banning dispensaries, pot farms and manufacturing, CBS2's Meg Baker reported Friday.
"The reality is people are very, 'Not in my backyard,' with their mentality," said Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra. "Point Pleasant Beach voted 65% for recreational marijuana. Asking them if they wanted it in their backyard was not on the ballot."
Many shore towns like Point Pleasant Beach banded together in not wanting the area to become a marijuana tourist attraction.
"Our biggest issues as a tourist town are the over imbibing of alcohol and marijuana," Kanitra said. "That's what causes the most strain on municipal resources."
The new law gave municipalities 180 days from Feb. 22 to draft ordinances banning marijuana business. They can then amend their local laws at any time if they decide to ease restrictions.
But, if a municipality permits cannabis distribution operations now, that action remains valid for five years.
"The message coming out of Trenton is not very clear," said Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry. "Obviously, we're concerned with close to schools, close to houses of worship, close to shopping centers. We don't want to create, you know, hangouts."
"Did Ridgewood overwhelmingly vote for legal marijuana?" Baker asked Mayor Susan Knudsen.
"There was a 2:1 ratio in favor of legalization," Knudsen said. "We've heard from individuals who said, 'Please don't legalize this, we are a family community, we're a residential community.'"
The proposed municipal retail tax rate is only 2 percent.
"I'm not gonna put the town in a position where I need to balance a budget of a town this size on the legalization of marijuana," said Mayor Henry.
CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report.
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