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West New York supports cannabis company seeking to open in town

The town passed a resolution allowing the entity to seek a state license for operations

The Mayor and Board of Commissioners met via Zoom on Feb. 9.

West New York is supporting a cannabis company seeking to open a recreational dispensary in town, and town officials are open to possibly endorsing another entity. At its February meeting, the Board of Commissioners approved a resolution supporting the location and operation of a Class 5 Retail Cannabis Facility.

The dispensary, if licensed by both the state and the town would be operated by Nile of NJ, LLC, doing business as Nile Cannabis.

The resolution only allows Nile Cannabis to seek a necessary operating license from the state, and subsequently a municipal license from the town, but does not guarantee anything.

Cannabis industry in West New York

In 2021, West New York was one of the municipalities in Hudson County that adopted an ordinance permitting recreational cannabis establishments.

However, the ordinance only allows one recreational cannabis establishment in town. It must be strictly retail; cultivating, manufacturing, business-to-business distribution, wholesale, or delivery to consumer operations from the facility are prohibited.

The dispensary would be located within the newly formed Cannabis Overlay Zone. The zone encompasses properties currently designated C-R Retail Service Commercial on Bergenline Ave., between 49th and 55th streets.

Any cannabis dispensary will be required to submit an application for a license from the town, accompanied by a fee of $6,000, with all necessary documentation. The annual license renewal fee, payable on the first day of January of each calendar year, is $15,000.

The ordinance imposes the allowable two percent tax on the sale of cannabis. Unique to West New York’s cannabis regulations, establishments cannot use imagery or representations of a marijuana leaf. No retail cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia can be displayed in any storefront window.

Medical dispensaries permitted too

The town also adopted another ordinance last year permitting medical cannabis dispensaries in town.

The ordinance does not specify a limit to the number of medical cannabis licenses as the ordinance for the recreational cannabis licenses did. However, it must also be a retail dispensary, not any other type of establishments.

The dispensary would be permitted in the Controlled Waterfront District. The district runs along Anthony DeFino Way and the Hudson River from West New York’s border with Weehawken around 51st Street, to its border with Guttenberg around 67th Street.

Just like a recreational dispensary, a retail license application fee from the town is $6,000, and renewal fees are $15,000. This ordinance also imposes the allowable two percent tax on the sale of medical cannabis.

Reluctant commissioner votes yes

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution, although commissioner Yoleisy Yanez voiced her concerns about the potential dispensary.

“I am going to give a reluctant yes, because I’m not completely comfortable with this,” Yanez said. “I want to support my Commissioners and my Mayor, but at the same time I need to make sure that we implement all the measures necessary to make this function in the way it should be in a community like ours.”

Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez assured Yanez that the rules and regulations for the establishment would be strictly adhered to.

“Obviously, every step of the way, our authorities, police department, and everything having to do with the regulation on the state and local level would be honored,” Rodriguez said. “We’ll make sure that this is taken with the utmost importance.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the resolution supporting Nile Cannabis.

Other entities interested in WNY

Joshua Perez Alejandro congratulated Nile Cannabis for getting support of the town and thanked officials for supporting the industry. Alejandro also asked for the same for his cannabis company, Dio’s Garden.

“We also have an interest to operate in West New York,” Alejandro said. “The background of our company was based around community. We wanted to work with the community of West New York and assist with the implementation of the cannabis industry. I want to encourage the Commissioners and the Mayor of West New York to open inclusiveness in this industry. I think it’s positive to have competitiveness.”

Alejandro continued: “I do understand there’s some reluctance to the industry, but I believe a positive industry and an economic industry is good with competitiveness and not just one license being distributed. It also provides an opportunity to spread the wealth across the community, and not just only to one company.”

In response, Rodriguez said that, while the board has approved this resolution supporting Nile Cannabis, it is still accepting letters of interest from potential cannabis establishments.

Town open to competitiveness

“If you’d like to send us a letter of interest, we would be happy to entertain that, as well as if you have a presentation you would like to share with us,” Rodriguez said. “We’re open to that as well. The way it goes is, that we have to put a resolution for any organization to then apply for their license. Once we submit a resolution, it allows for them to apply for their license if and when they’re granted. It’s absolutely a competitive process.”

Rodriguez said that Dio’s Garden could do the same as Nile Cannabis and the town would also pass a resolution supporting the company.

“Any party that we feel we may be interested in doing business with, we’re going to put on a resolution in order for them to apply,” Rodriguez said. “If and when you were to supply a letter, and maybe get a presentation from you, if its feasible, we would be happy to provide the same.”

Alejandro thanked Rodriguez and said he would work on getting the letter and presentation to the Mayor’s Office as soon as possible: “I would love the opportunity to present my business plan along with my partners and introduce you to Dio’s garden and what we have to offer.”

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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