The Ridgewood Blog Brings a Free Market Laissez-faire Point of View to Local, New Jersey State and National Issues.
Possible Retail Cannabis Store to Operate on Route 17 North in Mahwah Raises a Storm of Protests From Residents
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Mahwah NJ, In November 2020 New Jersey voters voted ‘yes’ on a ballot referendum which would legalize the recreational sale and use of cannabis for people over 21. Many voters seem to embrace the ideal , but see issues with recreational sale and use of cannabis or weed in reality , particularly the reality of their own town, township , village ,borough or city. Mahwah is one such township.
An ordinance that would allow a retail cannabis store to operate on Route 17 north in Mahwah failed to secure Township Council approval at a hearing on Monday December 13 of 2021. After a large public outcry ,the vote was postponed on Ordinance 1956. Ordinance 1956 as it is called would rezone just one property ,the former gas station property at 231 Route 17 north, just south of the West Ramapo Avenue exit to allow retail sales of marijuana products to adults age 21 and older.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission issues licenses for medicinal and recreational cannabis business operations in New Jersey. Each business requires a license, which must be active and in good standing, to perform any commercial cannabis activity.
The owner of the property is listed as ADPP Enterprises . A. D. P. P. Enterprises Inc. is located in Mahwah and is part of the Gasoline Stations Industry. A. D. P. P. Enterprises Inc. has 40 total employees across all of its locations and generates $46.44 million in sales and the k Shivpreet Grewal .
That’s a familiar sounding name, as in Gurbir S. Grewal, the former Bergen County Prosecutor and former NJ Attorney General , now with the SEC. This interesting coincidence has raised a lot of eyebrows, including objections over political connections and spot zoning .
Spot zoning is the application of zoning to a specific parcel or parcels of land within a larger zoned area when the rezoning is usually at odds with a city’s master plan and current zoning restrictions. Spot zoning may be ruled invalid as an “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable treatment” of a limited parcel of land by a local zoning ordinance. While zoning regulates the land use in whole districts, spot zoning makes unjustified exceptions for a parcel or parcels within a district.
The exit the property sites near provides access to Ridge Road on the west side of the highway where four of the township’s six public schools are located. Its high school would be a half-mile drive from the site.
An email sent by Michael Schnoll Republican County Committeeman to Township Council members seems to some up what the overwhelming majority of residents were thinking:
“Dear Members of the Township Council, I write to you as a lifelong (20 year) resident of the Township, and, on behalf of many of our residents, in regards to Ordinance 1956. I have spoken to several of you privately about this controversial ordinance over the past week and I myself have felt the necessity to perform my due diligence. I have been pretty undecided and wanted to hear arguments from the proponents and opponents. Like a majority of the residents I have spoken with, I am opposed to the ordinance- in its current form.
I understand that each of you have already heard this from residents, but the the location of the proposed dispensary is of great concern. Although I was one of only 33% of New Jerseyans and 35% of Mahwah residents to vote against the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2020, that is not why I’m opposed to this ordinance. In fact, I have no issue with decriminalizing the substance and if mature, responsible adults are using it inside their homes. I only voted “no” because I knew that this radical Governor we have, along with our lovely Legislature, would try to “twist” the ballot question, and as a result, they tried to make it so that if a 12 year old was caught with pot, their parents would not find out. I would have possibly been a “yes” if a concrete plan was set in place ahead of the election. But that still does not change my opinion of the ordinance. I am not totally opposed to the sale of cannabis in Mahwah if it is done far, far away from “the main drag” of town, including four of the six public schools, parks, residential neighborhoods, and houses of worship…”