Even though cannabis has been legalized in New Jersey since 2020, the retail market has been a few steps behind. In Hudson County, both medicinal and recreational use sales have begun. In Hoboken and Jersey City, a handful of medical-use dispensaries have opened, and we’re just a few days away from the first recreational sales happening in Jersey City. It’s been a long road for the businesses involved, and there are still many others waiting to open. Read on to learn more about the latest updates on dispensaries in Hoboken and Jersey City, New Jersey.
Blue Violets | 628 Washington Street
Blue Violets has been involved in a lengthy lawsuit with citizen organization Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis (HRC). This week, a Hudson County judge ruled in favor of HRC, dealing a significant blow to Blue Violets’ plans. In a statement posted to Reddit, a spokesperson from Blue Violets pointed out several issues with the ruling, chief among them that there had been no notice of the hearing. Further, Blue Violets had recently received approval from the State cannabis board and was about to receive its certificate of occupancy from the City of Hoboken, meaning the store was days away from opening. It’s unclear what will happen next to Blue Violets or the other Hoboken dispensaries who could be impacted by the rationale of the judge’s decision, which calls into question the Hoboken Cannabis Review Board’s methods.
Harmony Dispensary | 95 Hudson Street
Harmony was an early entrant into the Hoboken cannabis dispensary races. With another location in Secaucus, it was a natural fit in Hoboken. However, problems within the company have proved to be a significant stumbling block to the store’s opening at its location at 95 Hudson Street.
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An August 2023 court hearing revealed that the company’s finances were in disarray. A court-appointed custodian’s study of the company’s finances revealed that CEO Shaya Brodchandel had lost millions of dollars belonging to the company through financial mismanagement. He has since been removed as CEO. The company is in the process of being sold and will leave its Secaucus location in November due to unpaid rent, according to NJ.com.
Read More: Signage Up at Blue Violets: What We Know
In August, Hoboken Zoning Officer Ann Holtzman sent a letter to the Cannabis Review Board suspending Harmony’s application due to inactivity, per the Hudson County View. In June 2023, the NJCRC withdrew its approval of three of Harmony’s previously approved four licenses for nonpayment.
At a recent CRB hearing, representatives from Harmony explained that they were still interested in opening in Hoboken but had been sidetracked by the company’s legal challenges. The company is in the process of being acquired by Illicit Garden, a Missouri-based multistate operator. Illicit Garden is already approved by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) for a cultivator license.
It’s possible that Harmony could try to transfer its Secaucus operations to the Hoboken space, but it’s unclear whether the state and local cannabis regulations would permit that. The sale to Illicit Garden is anticipated to be completed later this fall.
At the Hoboken Cannabis Review Board’s September 21st meeting, the board voted unanimously to recommend that the City Council vacate its previous approval of Harmony. Harmony would be able to reapply.
Culture Hoboken, LLC | 321 Washington Street
Culture Hoboken LLC sued the Hoboken Cannabis Review Board (CRB) in August 2022 alleging that in denying Culture its license, the CRB “failed to provide adequate justification for denial of support or endorsement in the resolution as it failed to justify why plaintiff will not have a positive impact on the city’s community.”
As part of a September 2023 settlement of the case, the Hoboken City Council approved a proposal that would allow Culture another hearing in front of the CRB, according to the Hudson County View.
A particular challenge in this circumstance is that the City of Hoboken changed its cannabis regulations in April 2022. The settlement offer with Culture would see the hearing happen under the ‘old’ rules, before the April 2022 update.
Culture Hoboken had originally applied with the address of 321 Washington Street, but will have a new address at the new hearing. The Council approved the settlement with a vote of 5-4, permitting a new CRB hearing under the ‘old’ rules and allowing a new address to be used for the business. As of this writing, the new hearing has not been scheduled.
Story Dispensary | 51-513 14th Street
A settlement has been reached in two lawsuits involving Story Dispensary. The dispensary has plans to operate on the ground floor of a condo building in Uptown Hoboken and has faced lawsuits from neighbors in the condo building. In a statement to NJ.com, Story Dispensary’s attorney Lee Vartan said, ““The settlement will allow Story Hoboken to open its door and begin to serve the Hoboken community in the coming months.” One lawsuit was filed by the condo association alleging that the owners of the space had misled the neighbors about their plans for the space, which used to be bar. The second lawsuit filed by the condo association was against Story Dispensary and the City of Hoboken, alleging that the City had failed to follow its own guidelines in approving the dispensary’s application.
RIPT Dispensary, located at 200 Broadway, will be the first dispensary in Jersey City to launch recreational sales on September 29th at 10AM. RIPT will be the third recreational use dispensary in Hudson County, joining Harmony in Secaucus and Cookies in Harrison.
In an interview with NJ.com, RIPT co-founder Jonathan Bednarsh said that the team had been preparing for weeks to make the shift to include recreational use sales alongside the existing medical use sales.
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Another Jersey City dispensary, Downtown FLWR, plans to add recreational sales on October 6th, according to a social media post from the company. The store is located at 141 Newark Avenue.