Ordinance Would Prohibit Sale or Growing of Marijuana in Montgomery

October 1, 2018


Should the state of New Jersey decide to legalize the sale and
use of recreational marijuana,
Montgomery Township
Committee is taking proactive
measures to ensure that its
farmers don’t grow it, stores
don’t sell it, and people do not
consume it in public places.


The township “believes the proliferation of marijuana ...
which would remain prohibited under federal law ... would have significant deleterious consequences to the quality of life, as well as the health, safety, and welfare of township residents,” according to the ordinance introduced at the Sept 20 committee meeting.


The ordinance prohibits the growing, cultivation, production, manufacturing, storage, distribution, and sale of marijuana products, and any ancillary or related paraphernalia for non-medical or recreational purposes.

Also prohibited would be facilities, businesses, or establishments that would permit the consumption of recreational marijuana in the township of Montgomery.

Montgomery Police would enforce the ordinance, which would become  active upon adoption. This could happen following a public hearing scheduled for the Thursday, Oct. 4, Township Committee meeting at 7 pm in the municipal building.

It was not clear what the penalty would be for violating the ordinance if it is approved.

A teacher in the audience who asked to remain anonymous because she feared she would be harassed by students or cannabis smokers, spoke up in support of the ordinance to “protect our school-age children.”

Township resident Brett Borowski also spoke at the meeting, confessing he had mixed thoughts on the legalization of recreational marijuana. On the one hand, legalization would force criminals to leave the black market in which they sell cannabis to users and may defend their territories with violence. Legalization should also ensure a safe supply, not tainted with other more
dangerous substances.

“I don’t like the idea of normalizing the substance-use culture, including alcohol,” Borowski said, “but am willing to sacrifice that to prevent
all the horrible side effect of prohibition.”


Township Committee Member Sadaf Jaffer asked that the first sentence of the ordinance be changed because it is historically inaccurate. The sentence states, “the possession, use, production, manufacturing, sale, and distribution of marijuana and ... products have historically been prohibited.”

“That’s not true,” Jaffer said. “References to marijuana as a popular medicine are found in Chinese writings dating back to 2900 BC, and the marijuana plant made its arrival in North America in 1611 thanks to the Jamestown settlers.


“Early colonists were required to grow hemp,” she added. “George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp for clothing, rope, and fishing nets in the 1770s. And, doctors using cannabis extracts for various ailments, and marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia as a treatment
for opiate addiction, leprosy, cholera, and more.


“In the mid-1800s, hemp was the third-largest crop in the United States, behind cotton and tobacco.”


After the meeting, Jaffer, an academic, commented that: “I find resorting to vague notions of history to be unnecessary and indeed misleading to the public. Yet the other township committee members insist on keeping this language in the ordinance."


A painting of George Washington with his hemp crop
at Mount Vernon. National Public Radio (NPR) recently aired a story on how hemp is once again being planted on this Founding Father’s estate — the first time in decades, maybe centuries.





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