JERSEY CITY, N.J. (PIX11) — Jersey City is capping the number of pot shops it will allow within the city limits. The city, which has no recreational marijuana shops open yet, is trying to get ahead of potential pot problems.
Right now, the only thing being smoked inside The Leaf Joint on Central Avenue comes from incense and cigars.
“We are doing that in the interim while waiting on final state approval on the cannabis license,” said owner David Jefferson.
That is when the Leaf Joint will transform from selling pipes and other paraphernalia to a full pot shop.
It’s already one of a handful of businesses approved by Jersey City to sell recreational marijuana.
The city is still working to streamline its approval process to keep too many cannabis shops from ending up on the same popular drags like Central and Newark Avenues.
“We are trying to make sure we spread the love across the city so that the cannabis establishments are not clustered together,” said City Councilman Yousef Saleh, among other council members, to cap the number of new cannabis licenses at 48.
That is eight for each of the six wards of the city.
Shops already approved, like Leaf Joint, will not need to apply again and will not be counted against the cap.
There will also be an equity component to the new regulations to prioritize some who the war on drugs has harmed. Saleh said the bill is poised to pass with little resistance from lawmakers nor Jersey City residents.
“We will start to see more establishments, and we’re just trying to give everyone a good chance of success,” he said. “It’s the green rush over here.”
Jefferson said he’s high on the cap and hopes he and other marijuana businesses can get up and running soon.
“I don’t think the community wants every other corner to be a cannabis dispensary, nor do they want a liquor store or any other business over and over again,” he said.
The first few recreational cannabis establishments in Jersey City are expected to open within the next month or two, according to city leaders.