Secaucus cannabis board discusses new retail application

No action was taken on Floro Secaucus, LLC's proposal for a dispensary on Castle Road

Will Harmony Dispensary have some competition when it comes to adult-use recreational cannabis sales in Secaucus? That’s what officials are discussing.

The town’s Local Cannabis Control Board held a special meeting on Dec. 20 to discuss the application of Floro Secaucus LLC. The applicant is seeking a Class V retail license to sell recreational cannabis at 900 Castle Road, which is a warehouse-type industrial building currently home to NJ Casket Company and Pet Rest in Peace Memorial Center and Crematorium.

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That address is adjacent to the location where Harmony Dispensary currently sells medical cannabis out of. After initially banning the establishments ahead of a state deadline to make a decision, Secaucus shifted gears, ironed out the details of the local industry regulations, and lifted the prohibition but limited the operation of cannabis establishments to five lots that make up a light industrial area defined by warehouses, including the one that Harmony is in.

Amid Harmony’s quest to expand from medical sales to recreational, which it succeeded in earlier this month, the town began preparing the license application process for other cannabis entities. Officials said there had been some inquiries about businesses seeking to open in town in one of the permitted warehouse lots on Castle Road, which appears to include Floro.

The board met in person at the chambers on the second floor of the municipal building, with the option to watch via Zoom. After the meeting, Town Administrator Gary Jeffas told the Hudson Reporter that no formal action was taken by the board.

“A meeting was held but no decisions were made,” Jeffas said.

Jeffas said the meeting was informational in nature. The board asked various questions of the applicant, some of which they are circling back on with the town.

“It was a meeting on the one application we had, Floro Secaucus, LLC,” Jeffas said. “The meeting was mainly an informational session. They had their attorney, the managing member of their LLC and somebody from the group that helped put together the application.”

Informational meeting

“We used it as an informational meeting to ask questions and gather more information about the company, their background, what their plan is, what their thought is for the process, and how they would operate back there if they did get a license,” Jeffas said. “But there was no action or decision made.”

According to Jeffas, the board may have another meeting to discuss Floro’s applications. The applicant is gathering more information for the board based on some of the line of questioning at the December meeting of the board, which appears to be its first gathering.

“We just advised them that the board would discuss further and have a potentially another meeting to discuss further,” Jeffas said. “They also need to collect some more information for us on some of the questions just to fill in some of the gaps on some of the questions we had.”

Jeffas said most of the questions were around the business and the level expertise that the principals had in the business. He said that the consulting group working with Floro on the application is helping them through the process.

“The consulting group would help them with their human resources, their regulatory requirements on their day-to-day operations, so just kind of understanding how they would lean on the consulting company to assist in their business,” Jeffas said. “I think the consulting company operates about 20 or so recreational cannabis facilities in the United States and Canada. So they were the ones with a bit more experience on the recreational side of it. It was a decent amount of questioning just to understand the relationship and how they would assist in their functioning and operating at Secaucus and a business plan that would work.”

Applicant returning with more information?

According to Jeffas, there were also questions raised by Police Chief Dennis Miller as to security at the proposed dispensary. He said that is another topic they are working to iron out details on.

“Then the police chief asked some stuff about their security plan that they’re going to circle back. It seems they would have an outside company handle and set up security for it,” Jeffas said. “So we agreed that if there’s more questions on security, they would have a representative from that company who could better explain how they would handle things like security, the cameras, the people they would hire and those things.”

At another potential meeting on the application that could be held in the future, Jeffas said the board can consider furthering the application. That would entail the passage of a resolution of support by the board, as well as by Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the Town Council, before the applicant seeks state approval to proceed further.

“If the board decides to consider their application, we would give them a letter of support saying that the town supports their application so that when they go to the state, the state knows they have the support of the town and probably what we did with Harmony,” Jeffas said. “Then we would have the council pass a resolution saying that the mayor and Town Council are in support of the application moving forward so that the state knows they have the full backing of the town. That’s the decision-making process we’re kind of in right now.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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