HOWELL – To Township Manager Brian Geoghegan, keeping legal weed businesses out of town is about buying time. 

Under the New Jersey marijuana legalization laws, municipalities have until Aug. 21 to prohibit recreational marijuana sales and dispensaries or the businesses will be automatically permitted in existing retail and industrial zones. 

Up against that deadline the township will consider an ordinance (see pages 31-36) Tuesday banning legal weed businesses; the public hearing was rescheduled from an original hearing date of June 15.

“We’re not interested in prohibiting, it’s just until we can figure out the zoning — where we can and cannot allow it,” said Geoghegan. 

Howell joins a host of New Jersey cities and towns acting in the same fashion, buying time until they can tailor their own land-use rules, or outright banning weed businesses altogether.