Medical cannabis could come to Hoboken

Planning board considered downtown dispensary

A new medical cannabis dispensary could be coming to downtown Hoboken.
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A new medical cannabis dispensary could be coming to downtown Hoboken.

A new medical cannabis dispensary could be coming to Hoboken’s downtown and will be considered by the Hoboken Planning Board on Dec. 11.

The dispensary would be at 95 Hudson St, formerly Astrahealth Urgent & Primary Care, and will be owned by the Harmony Foundation of New Jersey, which has operated the state’s sixth medical cannabis dispensary in Secaucus since June 2018.

The facility will include a 5,000-square-foot dispensary as well as 3,800 square feet of basement storage space.

According to architectural documents prepared by Nastasi Architects, behind the Hudson Street brick façade will be an open-air courtyard, which will include a mural and open space followed by an interior foyer and shop for public access.

Those with medical cannabis prescription cards will be permitted to enter the dispensary after their card is reviewed. Once it is reviewed, they will be admitted to a waiting area before they are called into the dispensary, where their order will be taken and their prescriptions filled.

At that point, they can either leave with their purchase or they can use an enclosed interior courtyard/ lounge with a skylight dedicated to onsite consumption.

The building space will provide ventilation with carbon filters “sufficient to eliminate cannabis odors emanating from the interior of the premises” and no outside generators or mechanical equipment.

Safe and secure

The dispensary will have an extensive security system. Cameras will be on site to review activities. The cameras will be monitored by the NJ Department of Health. An alarm system with motion sensors and related devices will protect the facility from burglaries.

The system will be connected to a central monitoring station that will notify local police when necessary as well as panic buttons that can be triggered by employees to contact police.

An armed guard will be present during operating hours, which would be seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The application states that the dispensary will have 12 employees. While approximately 150 patients per day visit the Secaucus dispensary, Harmony believes its Hoboken location will have approximately 200 patients per day.

There will be no parking provided, because it is accessible by public transit. The Erie Lackawanna Train Terminal, which is a major transportation hub for New Jersey, has PATH access, NJ Transit train access, light rail access. Bus access is only three blocks away.

While the dispensary application will not need to go before the zoning board to obtain variances, it will need to receive licenses from the city and the state.

According to planning board documents, Harmony requested a waiver to provide a cannabis satellite dispensary from the New Jersey Department of Health in March 2019 in order to increase access to medical cannabis for qualifying patients. NJDOH has informed Harmony that it will provide the waiver upon receiving confirmation that Harmony has received required approvals from Hoboken.

Harmony will also go before the planning board to have exterior brick stains approved and courtyard mural designs approved.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.