OCEAN CITY - City Council put a law on the books April 8, which prohibits any marijuana dispensaries from opening in the city.
“We don’t allow alcohol. We shouldn’t allow any marijuana,” said Councilwoman Karen Bergman.
The ordinance passed unanimously, but Councilman Jody Levchuk pledged to keep the door open for a medical dispensary before casting his vote in favor of the ordinance.
“Based on the council seemingly all coming from a place of compassion, as well, and open to discussing it later, I’m just going to say yes on this and rediscuss it later,” Levchuk said, before voting.
He noted he is a medical marijuana patient and knows firsthand it is a problem for some people on the island to get their medication, adding he did not want to support something that limits access for medical patients.
He said it is easier for him to get marijuana because he has a car and works for himself, so the trip to an Egg Harbor Township dispensary is doable, but, he said, others who are debilitated or poor can’t make the trip as easily.
Councilman Michael DeVlieger said he understands marijuana brings value to some people’s lives,noting he discussed it with doctors as a potential treatment for himself, but ultimately did not take it up.
He criticized Gov. Phil Murphy and said he thinks Ocean City should see how things play out in Trenton and other communities before allowing a dispensary in town.
“If this crazy governor and the rest of them stay in office for another four years, who knows that they’re not going to make other drugs legal,” Devlieger said. “I have no desire to live in Amsterdam. I think that we’ve kept tight reigns on this community for many years, and it’s been wise. It’s served us well.”
Council members agreed that delivery services from dispensaries outside the city might be a solution to concerns over access.