At its regular meeting on Monday, July 19, the Hopewell Township Committee discussed a new personal hybrid schedule for future meetings, continued discussions on cannabis operations within the township, and passed a resolution to fund police body cameras.
In June 2021, Governor Murphy ended the COVID-19 public health emergency due to the number of vaccinations received in the state. As a result, indoor activities could be resumed and the mask requirement for vaccinated people was lifted. The township committee then began planning a personal hybrid schedule for committee meetings to begin in September.
Deputy Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning stated that the hybrid schedule would keep one meeting per month online and reschedule the other meeting in person. “I think we had a great turnout through Zoom,” said Peters-Manning. “I know it feels like things are going back to normal, but the pandemic isn’t quite over yet. We still have members in our community who are immunocompromised or unable to leave their homes for some reason. “
Although New Jersey has ended the public health emergency, the state is still in an active “state of emergency,” said committee attorney Steve Goodell. He added that they would have to wait for the state of emergency to be lifted in order to fully return to face-to-face meetings. “In my opinion, we can continue with virtual meetings even as long as we have comprehensive rules for ourselves … we can hold a meeting virtually [and] the other meeting in person, ”said Goodell.
Committee member Micheal Ruger stated in an email after the meeting: “While we don’t keep statistics on every meeting before moving to Zoom, it wasn’t uncommon for us to have five or six people in the audience at a face-to-face meeting. In the last two meetings we had more than a dozen. Last year we had a meeting with over 100 people. ”Discussions about the schedule of the meetings will continue as September approaches.
The committee also spent a good part of the meeting unveiling a new cannabis regulation that would allow the manufacture and cultivation of cannabis. The previous reporting on this topic can be found under this link.
The regulation is divided into three separate sections: a section on permits, a section on land use, and a section on taxation. This regulation prohibits all other licenses, including wholesale, distribution, retail and delivery service. The ordinance also limits the number of cultivation and manufacturing licenses in the Hopewell community. Scott Micco, a township attorney, stated that there can only be one license per category in the township at the moment. “It declares that there will only be one cannabis business [per license permitted] in the township, but if a single company has a cultivation and manufacturing license that would also be allowed, ”said Micco.
The ordinance also includes water consumption in large greenhouses, the limitation of pollen and thus cross-contamination by cannabis, as well as safety requirements that prohibit a greenhouse from being labeled as a cannabis grower.
The community will tax growers two percent per sale. Discussions about the future of cannabis will continue at the next meeting. You can find the review of the decision by the planning committee at this link.
The committee passed a resolution to participate in the SFY21 camera grid for body-worn cameras, created by the New Jersey State Department of Justice and Public Safety. The resolution states, “While the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety … grants city governments grants to help purchase body-worn cameras and expenses.”
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