Has Pot Issue Prompted Proposed Millstone Law?
Law Would Underscore That Officials’ Oaths of Office Prohibit Violating Federal Statutes
Although township officials aren’t admitting that it has anything to do with medical marijuana, the timing of a proposed ordinance regarding faithful adherence to the oath of office raises the question of its actual intent.
The Township Committee introduced the ordinance by a 4-0 vote at its Jan. 18 meeting. A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for Feb. 15.
Neighboring Upper Freehold Township passed an ordinance in mid-December prohibiting any activity noncompliant with federal law from going before the zoning, planning or other applicable entities in the township.
On Jan. 19, Upper Freehold passed an ordinance stating that the township shall not expend or commit township or other public funds for preservation unless the property owner provides to the township, prior to acquisition, a signed and notarized affidavit stating that he or she will not rent, lease or conduct any farming operations that grow and cultivate crops in violation of federal law.
All of this comes as the result of the Ocean Township-based Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center’s proposal to establish a facility to grow medical marijuana in the town.
Although medical marijuana use is permitted in New Jersey, it is still illegal on the federal level.
Plumsted and Howell townships passed similar ordinances.
Millstone Mayor Nancy Grbelja said no one has proposed any type of medical marijuana facility inMillstone.
The proposed ordinance states that New Jersey statutes prescribe an oath of office for elected and appointed public officials that pledges that officials will faithfully uphold the laws of the state of New Jersey and the law of the United States. It notes that potential conflicts with the oath of office may arise for local officials if the state, through the enactment of civil laws, provides and allows for actions by third parties that may be in clear violation of the criminal laws of the United States.
“This conflict can impact local officials in those circumstances where regulatory laws require local approval to be received from local officials so that third parties may undertake actions or engage in conduct which may be consistent with New Jersey civil law; but in violation of the criminal laws of the United States,” the proposed ordinance states.
The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law in January 2010.
“It is the intention, indeed the obligation, of the government of the township of Millstone to not take any action in furtherance of or to promote the violation of the criminal laws of the United States,” the ordinance states.