VINELAND — Voters in Tuesday’s midterm election approved a public question that would allow the city to permit medical marijuana dispensaries and growing facilities within its limits.

According to election results from the Cumberland County Clerk’s Office, more than 60 percent of voters in the city’s 36 districts approved the question — 8,968 voted yes, while 5,896 voted no.

The nonbinding referendum was placed on the ballot to gauge public opinion on the potential of the medical marijuana industry and its future in the city.

The question read: “Shall the City of Vineland permit the siting of medical marijuana cultivation and dispensary alternative treatment centers within the geographic boundaries of Vineland?”

City Solicitor Rick Tonetta said City Council has discussed medical marijuana many times, with mixed feelings.

“They talked to a lot of companies and held a lot of public meetings on medical marijuana,” said Tonetta, and ultimately decided to leave a decision on whether to allow alternative-treatment facilities in the city up to the public.

Tonetta added the referendum does not support recreational marijuana.

Earlier this year, the state’s medical marijuana program was under review, to improve its efficacy and increase patient access. State health officials were considering adding 43 new conditions that would qualify someone for a medical marijuana card.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the expansion of medical marijuana in New Jersey in March.

According to the Governor’s Office, the number of patients under the state’s medical marijuana program has doubled from 17,000 to 34,000 since January.

In July, the Department of Health received 146 applications from 106 organizations to join the state’s medical marijuana program.

New Jersey plans to expand the number of licensed alternative treatment centers in the state from six to 12 and award six new businesses or organizations with medical marijuana cultivation and dispensing licenses.

As of now, no plans have been announced for any facilities to open in the city.

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Staff Writer

Joined the Press in November 2016. Graduate of Quinnipiac University. Previously worked as a freelance reporter in suburban Philadelphia and news/talk radio producer.

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