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Jersey City Planning Board OKs 2 Cannabis Dispensaries

The Jersey City Planning Board approved two adult-use cannabis dispensaries to operate in the Heights neighborhood of the city without controversy.

The first application was for Uforia LLC. The owner is Bashkim Spahi. The Uforia dispensary would be located at 138 Griffith St in the Heights off Central Avenue.

The Jersey City Cannabis Control Board and the Jersey City Council approved them to operate, Uforia attorney Zachary Rosen noted. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) approved Uforia as the 167th license in October.

“The applicant is only proposing minor alterations,” Rosen noted.

He explained it is currently a vacant storefront.

“All the proposed alterations to the property are for the interior,” architect Greg Korn said.

He explained there would be no change to the exterior, merely the hanging of a sign. The plan included a trash enclosure mandated by the State Korn noted.

“The second floor is residential with a separate entrance,” he explained.

Korn said the building is next to a parking lot and a residential building.

It used to be a barbershop, he noted.

Korn sought to emphasize it was a simple retail plan.

No member of the public sought to comment.

Assistant Planner Francisco Espinoza noted it was located in an approved zone.

“Staff is in receipt of all required submittals. Staff recommends approval,” he said.

“I wish them all the best,” Planning Board Commissioner Jeff Lipski said.

“I’m excited for this. Happy to hear all approvals are in place. This is my neighborhood, and I welcome it,” Planning Board Chair Christopher Langston said.

It was approved 4-0-1. Vice Chair Dr. Orlando Gonzalez abstained.

Green Flamingo

The next applicant was Green Flamingo. They would be located at 447 Central Ave, also in the Heights. Michael Fernandes & Brian Philipson own it. Green Flamingo attorney Stephen Joseph explained the business.

“The applicant was approved by the CCB on August 8th,” he said.

It is an existing retail store that is less than 500 sq ft, Joseph noted. They would use a basement for storage to maximize floor space. The owners are currently operating the Jupiter Knights hemp store at the location.

“It is a very small space,” architect Ron Elkins noted.

He noted there would be a film on the windows as mandated by the NJCRC.

Elkins described the floor plan and emphasized how secure it would be.

“There would be multiple cameras accessing, viewing this space,” he said.

Elkins noted there would be an air filtration system that would be in place to cope with the smell of cannabis.

They’re within 200 ft of a school. But as a hemp store, they were exempted from the rule, Joseph said. Jersey City’s cannabis legalization implementation ordinance grandfathered their location in.

“Hemp sales happened as of October 2020 and continue as of today,” he said.

Dispensaries Progress

“Staff recommends approval with conditions outlined,” Espinoza said.

“The applicant agrees,” Joseph said.

“l love the fact that two proprietors are looking to get off the ground in the area in the Heights,” Lipski said. “I know the applicant has been operating a hemp retail store without incident and has been exceptionally generous to Pershing Field.”

They also donated to local programs that help children, he added.

“Good luck guys,” Langston said.

It was approved 4-0-1. Gonzalez abstained again.

Green Flamingo needs a City Council resolution to operate.

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