Glassboro welcomes the possibility of retail cannabis dispensaries

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After months of preparation, town council members have finalized legal documents allowing for retail cannabis dispensaries to operate within Glassboro. 

On Oct. 25, Glassboro town council members passed an ordinance that cleaned up their code book which had previously prohibited all classes of retail cannabis dispensaries within Glassboro.  

The Glassboro town council introduced an ordinance permitting retail cannabis dispensaries to operate within designated zones — pre-approved by council members — on Nov. 23, 2021, according to the official ordinance #21-26 document. The ordinance was later passed through a public hearing on Dec. 14, 2021.   

“What we did last Tuesday [Oct. 25] was basically a cleanup of our code book… it basically says, ‘this one [ordinance #22-20] is going to supersede anything that’s in the book,’” Clark Pierpont, the assistant administrator and director of code enforcement for Glassboro, said. “However, we did not remove the section in the book that says, ‘all classes of cannabis establishments…are prohibited from operating in Glassboro.’”

Retail cannabis dispensaries had already been approved by the council in December 2021 and the purpose of the latest ordinance was to eliminate anything that contradicted previous ordinances passed by council members. 

In November 2021, out of all registered voters in Glassboro, 67.08% of voters were in favor of the legalization of “a controlled form of marijuana called ‘cannabis’ for adults 21 years of age or older,” according to the official #21-26 ordinance document.

However, when adult use of cannabis was first introduced via the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMM Act, also known as The Act), Glassboro had initially opted out of allowing retail cannabis dispensaries to operate within their borders. 

According to NJ.gov, the CREAMM Act is “the state law that legalized personal-use cannabis” signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on Feb. 22, 2021. Municipalities had until Aug. 21, 2022, exactly 180 days after CREAMM was adopted by the state of New Jersey, to either opt-in or opt-out of the act.   

“You could not opt out again for five years,” Pierpont said, referencing that the clause that if municipalities initially opted in and then later wanted to opt out, there would be a five-year process period.

Glassboro officials were initially concerned about the safety of residents when it came to allowing retail cannabis dispensaries to operate within the borough. 

According to the #21-26 ordinance document, “on July 27, 2021, the Mayor and Council determined that it was necessary and appropriate, and in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of the Borough of Glassboro residents and members of the public who visit, travel, or conduct business in the Borough of Glassboro, to adopt an ordinance prohibiting the operation of any one or more classes of cannabis establishments.” 

According to the CREAMM Act, Chapter 16, there are six classes of licensed recreational cannabis businesses, all of which vary in operation.

“Class one is a cultivator, class two is a manufacturer, class three is [a] wholesaler, class four is a distributor, and class five is a retailer, class six is delivery,” Pierpont said.

By Nov. 23, 2021, town council members had reconsidered their decision to prohibit such classes within Glassboro.

“There are six classes of license [under The Act] and we allow all except the delivery business,” Pierpont said.

Pierpont clarified what a delivery business is.

“One of the classes of licenses is, allowed by the state, a business that, solely, their job is to pick up cannabis and deliver it. So, they would pick it up from a retail place and then they would deliver it to whoever the customer is,” Pierpont said. 

Glassboro officials want to keep retail cannabis businesses local.

“If we allow it in our town, we can put certain controls on it. During the application process, they have to show us their entire security plan for their operation, our police department reviews that security plan. So, we feel that we have more control if it’s licensed through Glassboro,” Pierpont said. 

Local retail cannabis businesses will help increase town revenue and the overall economy.

“It [retail cannabis businesses] does add additional jobs to the community and then depending on the locations for these new businesses, it can drive additional visitors into the town,” Jennifer Maden, assistant dean for graduate studies for Rohrer College of Business at Rowan University, said.  

Rowan University also offers an MBA concentration in cannabis commercialization.

“Rowan’s MBA is accredited by AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). That is the most stringent and strict and difficult accreditation to get and keep and that’s what the best business schools in the world have,” Maden said. 

According to AACSB’s website, “Synonymous with the highest standards of excellence since 1916, AACSB provides quality assurance, business education intelligence, and learning and development services to over 1,850 member organizations and more than 950 accredited business schools worldwide.” 

In addition to Maden’s advocating for Rowan’s MBA concentration in cannabis commercialization, Maden also has faith that introducing the cannabis business into Glassboro will have a positive impact on the town’s business economy.

“We can have positive impacts to the local businesses as well… It can essentially increase foot traffic to other local businesses which is a benefit to those other local businesses as well,” Maden said. “It gives a little more of vitality to the overall business base.”

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