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Sean Mack Quoted in Article on Municipalities Adopting Ordinances Banning Cannabis Businesses Prior to August 21, 2021


Sean Mack, partner and Co-Chair of the Cannabis & Hemp Law practice at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in the article “N.J. cities, towns are acting quickly to ban weed businesses by August deadline.” The article discusses issues surrounding the decision by some municipalities to adopt ordinances banning cannabis businesses prior to August 21, 2021. 

Municipalities have until Aug. 21 to pass ordinances that either ban cannabis businesses, welcome them or set limits for the types of businesses or number of dispensaries. Those that do nothing will lock in a standard set of rules for five years.

But those ordinances might not be as flexible as some think. Sean Mack, an attorney with Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, said there’s some confusion around municipalities changing their ordinances past the six-month deadline set in the cannabis legalization law signed earlier this year.

“The thought process on how the repeal is going to work is flawed,” he said. “The towns think, ‘we ban everything now, then we change our minds later, so now we want to allow things.’ You have to repeal your opt-out ban. Now, you’re back in a situation where your town does not have a duly adopted law by Aug. 21 to ban certain cannabis businesses.”

Mack said towns might want to take advantage of the time they have now and develop an ordinance that really works for their town. They could designate certain commercial zones where dispensaries would be allowed or put a limit on the total number instead of issuing an outright ban.

“Towns should be thinking about this now,” he said. “Some towns are doing polls of their community. What are people’s concerns? Do they want limits on anything? Taking advantage of the time before [Aug. 21] where you’ve got very broad authority to adopt restrictions and rules that make sense for your town.”

To view the full article, click here.

A version of this story first appeared in NJ Cannabis Insider on Thursday May 13, 2021.

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