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Constituent Questions: Cannabis

I understand there are questions that residents may have about West Orange’s participation in New Jersey’s new cannabis industry. I see questions on local social media pages and because of this campaign, am often tagged in them. So, I thought it might make sense to start to collect questions I get about various issues, including cannabis, and to post here, a sort of FAQ on our campaign website. Please subscribe to this page for updates and check back for new posts!

I know people are wondering how specifically our town will benefit from having cannabis growers, wholesalers, manufacturers, or retail establishments in West Orange. I wanted to lead the effort for our town to participate in this new industry in a thoughtful, controlled way for 2 reasons: social justice and revenue opportunities for West Orange.

First, I am interested in any issue that provides an opportunity to consider social justice and equity issues, and Governor Murphy, when enacting cannabis legislation, put social justice and equity issues at the forefront of the state licensing process. Our focus on social justice has already yielded results. West Orange recommended that New Jersey approve the license application for the first ever cannabis cultivator business owned by a Black woman. We did that because the task force I established and that I lead, made it a priority to follow the state guidelines when considering applications. I’m proud that we moved that application through the process and I look forward to seeing that business open in West Orange.

Second, I realized that because the new state law gives participating municipalities the right to tax transactions by and between growers, manufacturers, distributors, and retail operations, West Orange could generate revenue for our municipal services and schools if we participated in this industry. You can read about the potential for local revenue on the New Jersey state website in their FAQ section, but a rule of thumb is to assume that a municipality can tax up to 2% on sales by a manufacturer, distributor or retailer, and up to 1% on sales by a wholesaler. If I am elected mayor, we will impose the maximum allowable tax to generate maximum revenue for municipal services, to support our tax base, and help reduce the overreliance on residential taxes to create our budget. I believe that such revenue could pretty easily become approximately 2 million dollars per year.

This is the kind of forward thinking leadership we need in our town. We need a Mayor who will be outward looking and who will find opportunities to raise revenue to pay for our municipal services and support our neighbors. I promise that throughout this campaign you will hear me talk a lot about how our municipal government needs to be more outward facing and creative to find and generate opportunities for our town. We have to change our municipal government’s insularity - we have to have relationships with other leaders in our state and be ready to creatively work on behalf of our residents. We have not had that in West Orange in decades and I will change that.

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Thank you to all West Orange voters who participated in this critical election. We can take nothing for granted, and I am so appreciative of everyone who engaged in the democratic process and voted du

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