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NJ Cannabis Law News: Jersey City Cannabis Board Continues

In NJ cannabis law news, the Jersey City Cannabis Control Board (CCB) approved four cannabis dispensaries and carried two to the next meeting amidst a changing cannabis law.

Barthelemy Farms Makes NJ Cannabis Laws News

Barthelemy Farms LLC at 453 Palisades Ave was heard. They agreed to be carried to the next meeting quickly.

“So, it’s not a moratorium anymore? Commissioner Jeff Kaplowitz asked.

Initially, a moratorium was to stop all cannabis progress in Jersey City for six months starting Monday the 15th which made NJ cannabis law news.

“All the applications we will receive by May 15th will be heard,” Jersey City Commerce Director Maynard Woodson said.

“If you’re already in the pipeline you’ll continue,” CCB attorney Ron Mondello said.

Woodson said a revised Jersey City cannabis law would likely be introduced at the next Council caucus meeting.

Garden on Summit

The Garden on Summit at 510 Summit Ave was heard first. They were previously tabled. Attorney Jennifer Cabrera explained they’re a New Jersey woman-owned business experienced in running companies.

“They’re not Multi-State Operators (MSOs) squeezing out the little guy,” she argued.

Cabrera said Ally Fonseca who was raised by Journal Square, owns 4 percent while the CCB has approved a dozen dispensaries with no owners from Hudson County. She also noted they received Memos of Understanding (MOUs) from Hudson County Community College HCCC and the Anti-Violence Coalition.

“You did provide a lot of letters. That’s very helpful,” CCB Chair Brittani Bunney said.

However, she noted they didn’t get letters of support from their neighbors.

“We basically spoke to the Journal Square neighborhood. We went where there were, ya know, businesses that were active,” Garden on Summit Director of Operations Steven Rothstein argued.

Community Issues with Cannabis Dispensaries

Landlady Evelyn Rodriguez Rubio said they went to a small cannabis Zoom meeting held by them. She noted many schools were nearby.

“I am concerned. I have two kids. We wanted an in-person meeting,” she added.

“I’m also concerned about the Summit House. I’m not in favor,” Anne Marley said.

Executive Director of the Downtown Special Improvement District Rachel Sieg endorsed Fonseca’s efforts.

“It’s an excellent location,” David Geano said. He explained his brother is a veteran with PTSD helped by medical cannabis.

Bunney noted people were unhappy there was no in-person meeting residents wanted.

Rothstein said that they had trouble getting the Hilltop Association to hold an in-person meeting in time.

“The neighborhood is here complaining. This is the oldest building in Jersey City. I feel there should be a notice requirement,” Bunney noted. “They’re going to the council next.”

“We offered it,” Rothstein said about an in-person meeting.

Ultimately it was approved 2-1-0. Vice Chair Jose Cantarero and Kaplowitz voted yes, while Bunney voted no. City Health and Human Services Director and CCB Commissioner Stacey Flanagan and Commissioner Courtney Sloane abstained.


Altalune at 433 Palisade Ave next. It was also previously tabled. Attorney Heather Kumer noted they were adjourned due to a distance issue. Kaplowitz said he previously noted there are too many planned dispensaries on Central Ave in the Heights but not the rest of the area where they’d be based.

“That was the only issue we had,” Bunney said.

Riverview Neighborhood Association (RNA) President Irene Borngraeber explained they were struggling due to the number of cannabis companies seeking feedback without metrics to grade them. She added they would not endorse any cannabis companies.

“This is an extremely fluid situation and not everyone is on the same page,” Kaplowitz said.

“Was RNA opposed? This location is very close to the park,” Bunney said.

Borngraeber said they were neutral in general. Altalune was the only one that completed their endorsement application.

Bunney was glad they satisfied the RNA.

They were approved unanimously 5-0.

Retreat NJ Amended and Approved

Retreat NJ at 656 Grand Street was next. They were previously tabled. Kumer was their attorney as well. She noted the CCB didn’t like they did not have local connections nor had they done outreach. So their Outreach Director, Jersey City Young Democrats President Cory Garriga, was made a partner with five percent to fulfill the state-mandated legal requirement of local ownership.

Partial owner Alex Santiago of Bergen County said they would volunteer with local charities like the Jackie Robinson Little League group.

Kumer noted the issues with affordable housing so they could contribute revenue to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

“You can’t have social justice without affordable housing,” she argued. “Hopefully this is a trend that a lot of cannabis companies will adopt.”

Benson said they would donate money for Meals on Wheels for seniors. She added they would also fund a mural. Benson said they wanted to help the Morris Canal Development Corporation host an affordable farmer’s market.

“Andrew Koudijs? He’s on your certificate of formation and the tenant of Retreat. Let’s talk about this,” Kaplowitz said.

Mondello noted they updated the paperwork to exclude the employer of Benson and Santiago.

“He signed it over to you?” Kaplowitz asked.

“It was assigned,” Kumer said.

“So he has no involvement? Kaplowitz asked.

“Only as a cannabis consultant,” Benson said.

“How often will you be down here?” Kaplowitz asked the Andover, Massachusetts resident.

“I plan as coming down as often as necessary,” Benson argued.

Friends of Berry Lane Park President Jerome Choice endorsed them.

“They have been having a dialogue with our community,” he said.

Choice noted their proposed assistance with the cost of produce at a potential farmer’s market.

They were approved 2-0-3 with Bunney, Flanagan abstained. Sloane was recused since she missed the last meeting.

Art Dispensary Issues Carried

Art Dispensary at 669 Bergen Ave. was next. Anna Tolentino, a native of Jersey City, is the owner. She was an attorney for 25 years. Tolentino was disbarred for mishandling client money.

“There was nothing in your application about community impact,” Sloane said.

“I was not aware of having to reach out to associations and board,” Tolentino said.

They were tabled unanimously to address the issue.

Memes Danckk World Goldilocks Applicant

Memes Danckk World LLC at 1704 Kennedy Blvd in Ward A was next. They have a micro-license from the State. Local Meme Wiggins owns it.

Kaplowitz noted they want a consumption lounge in the future.

Wiggins explained she works in real estate. She wants to help women with HIV. They also plan to do extensive community outreach on the benefits of cannabis. Wiggins said she is working with the Community Treasure as well. She said they’re holding a town hall on May 27th after having done outreach to several local businesses.

Being a community-minded local woman made Wiggins a Goldilocks applicant. NJ cannabis law news has been filled with many such candidates struggling to find local approval, land, and money.

“That’s the kind of business we want in our community,” Flanagan said.

Bunney liked that they wanted to volunteer instead of donating money.

The Jersey City Cannabis Control Board approved them unanimously 5-0 to applause.

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