Members of the City Council adopted a measure on Tuesday night that disallows the opening of recreational marijuana businesses in Paterson.
Council members voted 6-1 to opt out of allowing recreational marijuana businesses. Council members approved the measure to meet the August 21 deadline to adopt an ordinance on recreational marijuana.
“Opting out is not a bad thing. It gives us more time to make sure the language is right,” said councilwoman Lilisa Mimms.
Council president Maritza Davila, who was the sole vote against opting out, tried to build support among her colleagues to allow recreational marijuana businesses.
“I wanted to opt out of the retail portion,” said Davila. “We have an underground market already.”
The Muslim community in Paterson vehemently opposed allowing marijuana businesses while Green Thumb Industries, which runs the RiSE medical marijuana dispensary, was lobbying for allowing them.
No one appeared for the public hearing on Tuesday night.
Mayor Andre Sayegh has signaled he intends to veto the opt-out ordinance. Councilwoman Ruby Cotton, who favors allowing marijuana businesses, last week said if the mayor vetoes the opt-out he will do significant damage to the community. If he vetoes the ordinance, marijuana businesses could open in commercial and industrial areas all over Paterson.
“We don’t have real data how this will affect our community,” said councilman Luis Velez. He is concerned about possible negative impact on quality of life for residents.