TOMS RIVER: As expected at Tuesday’s Toms River Town Council meeting- the council (majority) voted on item 12 to actually blanket BAN all cannabis establishments, distributors, and delivery services in the township. The lone dissenter would be councilwoman Laurie Huryk whom voted AGAINST the blanket ban. This was a first reading, which got read and passed with an explanation and each member the option to vote, and speak. While it sadly did pass, this legislation singly does NOT close the door to legal marijuana dispensaries, deliveries, or distributors to ever operate here in town later in 2021.
Much of this knee-jerk weed-banning reaction around Ocean County towns is due to the limited guidance offered by the State of New Jersey of course. Now that recreational marijuana is legal in NJ for adults 21+, these towns cannot stop people from smoking or using it, where permitted of course. If towns did NOT create a plan to regulate the industry in relation to zoning and other affairs, Trenton would take over come August 2021. While having Trenton manage our town’s decisions is NOT in the best interest of anyone, the simple and easy blanket ban did NOT have to happen. Trenton and the current administration needed to put this clause in the legislation to ensure towns couldn’t prohibit cannabis operations with overly-restrictive zoning laws to essentially zone it outside their borders. Now instead of taking the time to craft laws to permit marijuana stores and all in mutually-agreed locations, these towns are taking the cheap and easy way out. Murphy and the NJ Attorney General have taken notice to this apparent loophole these strict conservative town councils have discovered.
As explained by the township attorney and councilman Matt Lotano, Toms River “had” to issue this ban to avoid Trenton dictating where facilities can operate in relation to commercial and industrial zones in town. The big fear of a marijuana dispensary or grow house operating near some of your back yards invokes fear strangely among you. A marijuana dispensary operating in town is no more a nuisance, if not less than a standard liquor store or commercial bank in regards to police service calls. Plus- towns that permit operations in their borders are subject to taking on the additional 2% in sales tax revenue for the town to use.
Instead of a quick all-encompassing ban of the industry; a more moderate and sensible approach needs to happen. Toms River assures us, the majority voters that this will be revisited to craft realistic legislation to regulate the industry in our town. The current Toms River Town Council, with Councilwoman Huryk being our lone champion, did say they are NOT against cannabis industries and dispensaries operating in Toms River, but we need the time to do it right.
As a glimmer of hope over the other idiotic towns which just ban and aren’t open to compromise- TR appears to be listening to our voices. Trenton allowing the final say in zoning isn’t a bad thing- it was made to make these towns do something as they cannot stop it forever. Come August expect to see the industry to begin in Ocean County, or the lawsuits will begin to emerge as violations against free enterprise make clear sense.
OCSN has included a photo and biography of Councilwoman Laurie Huryk so you all can familiarize yourselves with her positive and reasonable voice. You can email and contact all the additional town council members via this link –> https://tomsrivertownship.com/233/Township-Council
Laurie Huryk, Councilwoman
Laurie Huryk has been a resident of Toms River since 1996. Growing up in densely populated Bergen County, Laurie and her husband, Keith, moved to Toms River for the decreased congestion, proximity to New Jersey’s beaches and the highly-rated school system. Their three children, who went through the Toms River school system, are now grown.
Laurie brings over 25 years of experience working with the public through her nursing career. She has worked in oncology, the emergency room, a Federally Qualified Health Center, and most recently in the information technology department as an informatics nurse. Informatics nurses bridge the gap between clinical staff and computer programmers. Sometimes even taking on the role of programmer herself, Laurie, is constantly problem solving, using her clinical judgment and the nursing process.
Laurie earned her associate degree in nursing from Charles County Community College (now the College of Southern Maryland), her baccalaureate in nursing from Rutgers College of Nursing, and her masters degree in nursing from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Nursing (now Rutgers School of Nursing).
Laurie was elected to the council in November 2017. She decided to run for this, her first elected office, because she felt she could make a positive impact on the Township of Toms River. In her role on the council, Laurie serves on the Planning Board, the Land Use Committee and the Community Arts Project, as well as participating in many interest group meetings.
You will frequently spot Laurie at the many events around town. Laurie enjoys having conversations with her fellow Toms River residents; so feel free to contact her through this website.