Since New Jersey has legalized the sale of marijuana, municipalities across the state are working on how to accommodate the growing businesses while complying with state and federal laws. Here in Hoboken, the Cannabis Review Board is considering three locations for dispensaries. Read on to learn about the cannabis dispensary proposals and the upcoming meeting.
The Cannabis Review Board exists somewhere between a licensing board and a zoning board. It was established in August 2021 as a way to manage the application and approval process for cannabis-based businesses to do business in Hoboken. The types of businesses allowed and where they can be located are dictated by law, and the Review Board grants the necessary licenses for these businesses.
Terrapin Dispensary, a medical cannabis dispensary, has already been approved to operate at 86 River Street. Terrapin is part of a Colorado-based company with franchises nationwide. The businesses being considered at this week’s meeting are all adult, recreational dispensaries.
This Week’s Vote
On Thursday, February 24th, the Review Board will host a hearing to discuss three proposed locations for adult, recreational dispensaries.
The first proposed location is at 51-53 14th Street, which many will recognize as the location of the former Hudson Tavern. The Tavern closed in August 2021. The company behind the proposal is Story Dispensary of Hoboken, LLC.
The second proposed location is at 128 Washington Street, in the same building as Precious Chinese restaurant. The applicant, Nug Hoboken LLC, is a franchise location of Nug, Inc., a California-based marijuana company.
The third proposed location is at 516 Washington Street at the location of Pho-nomenon restaurant. The business applying is called Village Hoboken LLC.
All three applicants are adult-use dispensaries, also called retail dispensaries. Each applicant is required to provide a Neighborhood Impact Report, which details anticipated impacts from the business operations and if necessary, plans to mitigate. Common concerns include parking, increased vehicular traffic, and noise.
The meeting will be hosted on Zoom and residents are invited to provide comments.
What Officials Are Saying
The Hoboken Girl reached out to the City of Hoboken and the Hoboken City Council for comment. The responses received by the time of this publication are below.
City of Hoboken
As determined through the City Council’s unanimous adoption, which was preceded by a lengthy community process, cannabis retailers have been approved as a use in business and industrial districts, as spelled out in the Council’s ordinance. The Cannabis Review Board as well as the Planning Board will review all applications for consideration based on their merits and consistency with municipal code, with members of the public welcome to provide input during their open public hearings. Should applicants be approved and receive a state license, they will be required to follow strict building code enforcement. All approved cannabis retailers will also be providing the City with additional tax revenue through the cannabis transfer tax, as specified in the ordinance
Hoboken City Council
Dr. Michael Russo, President, and 3rd Ward Councilperson:
I’m excited that we have such interest from potential applicants. The City Council unanimously decided to embrace the cannabis industry in Hoboken reflecting the overwhelming sentiment of the entire state of New Jersey. This is a tremendous opportunity for our city and its residents.
The council put in place a cannabis review board, well in advance of any other community in the state, knowing that adoption of the state law was just around the corner. We as a city have limited the potential cannabis retailers to the business and industrial districts, and put together the process of The Cannabis Review Board and the Planning Board review for all applications. We have multiple layers of government to oversee and ensure that any applicant will provide the community with a facility that will benefit that neighborhood and beyond.
I welcome members of the public to participate and provide input during these open public hearings.
Joe Quintero, Council at Large:
I have been a supporter of cannabis decriminalization and legalization for some time – frankly, for me, it is both a social justice (given the uneven application of marijuana laws historically) and a personal liberty issue. What we are entering here is the beginning of a robust process for Hoboken to decide whether to approve three applications for retail cannabis dispensaries; similar to what exists in cities in Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, and more. As a part of our local process, which was approved unanimously by the City Council, there will be opportunities for the public to be involved and comment – and I hope they do. Ultimately, I am rooting for some recreational dispensaries to open in town as the increased tax revenue generated will help us get more services to folks in town, without putting additional pressures on property taxes.
Tiffanie Fisher, 2nd Ward Councilperson:
I 100% support decriminalizing marijuana, but because of the unique characteristics of Hoboken, I don’t think that retail dispensaries belong in Hoboken. These and other shops are all potentially opening at the base of residential buildings which is part of why I don’t think these make sense for Hoboken. We have a complex community that blends commercial and residential uses on every block and most doorsteps. How can we allow these types of businesses into an occupied, residential building? No notice to neighbors is required per the Cannabis Review Board, and the notice requirement for the Hoboken Planning Board is limited to neighbors within 200 feet of these businesses.
The Cannabis Review Board is just one of many steps required before a dispensary can open. If Hoboken’s CRB approves it, then it still has to go to through the Hoboken Planning Board where the public has another opportunity to be heard. I welcome any and all input from you to improve our current laws to best protect the quality of life of our residents.
In advance of the meeting, a Hoboken resident has started a petition on change.org against the new businesses. The petition, called Protect Hoboken Families and Children from Cannabis Dispensary Dangers, was published on Thursday, February 24th. The petition is directed toward the Hoboken Cannabis Review Board, the Hoboken City Council, the Hoboken Planning Board, and the mayor’s office.