TOMS RIVER – In the wake of Gov. Phil Murphy’s campaign promise to legalize marijuana, Toms River will become another local town that will continue to outlaw the drug for recreational purposes.
The Township Council introduced an ordinance at their most recent meeting that would ban the sale or resale of the drug by retailers or individuals, and also bans testing facilities.
There is an exemption for medical use of marijuana. The ban does not apply to these patients or treatment centers. However, the centers would be restricted to areas of the township where hospitals and medical centers are allowed.
Councilwoman Laurie Huryk abstained from voting because she said she had some legal questions on the ordinance that needed some clarification. The rest of the council voted for the ban. There will be a public hearing on the ordinance at a future meeting before it becomes law.
During the public portion of the meeting, a few residents urged the council to reconsider.
Resident Christine Luland said that studies show that there was a reduction in opioid-related deaths in towns where it has been legalized. Given the opioid epidemic going on, “We owe it to our community to do something.”
She also spoke about how the economy is still down, and the town is always looking for ratables.
“Are things going so well that we can turn down a business?” she asked.
Chris Doyle, who owns Apex United in downtown Toms River, warned that people will drive out of town to find places they can buy marijuana legally, and the town will be losing out on that industry.