Weed all about it!
Brooklyn could be home to one of New York’s first pot dispensaries, after one of the companies vying for a license to grow and distribute medical marijuana in the state signed a lease on a Downtown building last week, and Borough President Adams says the company couldn’t have picked a better location.
“Brooklyn would be a great anchor in the city,” he said.
Long Island medical marijuana company Palliatech, which operates legal dispensaries across the country, says it inked a deal on June 4 for a second-floor space at 425 Fulton St., between Pearl and Jay streets — just two blocks from Borough Hall. The company hopes to build a sleek, state-of-the art distribution facility with nary a tie-dyed shirt or Grateful Dead album in sight, said a spokesman.
“It will be very secure, but also clean, modern, and open,” said executive vice-president Andrei Bogolubov. “Think Apple-Store-meets-pharmacy.”
But an organic pharmacy on Fulton Mall is still far from a sure thing. Albany is issuing only five licenses to grow and distribute medical marijuana in the state, and Palliatech is just one of dozens of hopefuls that has applied for one of the coveted pot permits.
And if the company does nab a license, New York’s medical marijuana law — considered one of the most restrictive in the country — will only allow Palliatech to create and dispense products derived from cannabis extracts, such as oils and capsules, rather than giving patients sticky buds to smoke or edible products like weed brownies. Only people with a medical marijuana card will be allowed inside the premises.
Adams said any dispensary in Brooklyn would not be a “neighborhood pot shop.”
“This is medical treatment for those in need,” he said.
The Beep, an ex-cop, has been a proponent of medical Mary Jane since his days as a state senator, a position he said he came to after watching a cancer-stricken friend successfully use pot to combat nausea caused by chemotherapy. Without a legal option, the man’s younger brother had to go to a neighborhood drug dealer to buy the ganja, Adams said. The risks of that illicit transaction made him think — really think, man — about how lawmakers could help patients like his friend get the medicine they need, he said.
“Imagine having to break the law in order to alleviate your pain or a loved one’s pain,” he said. “His younger brother put himself in harm’s way, and he could have been arrested or the victim of a crime. We should not put that barrier in the way of people trying to overcome illness.”
The state okayed the medical marijuana program in July last year, and accepted applications from businesses looking to grow and distribute the dope from late April through last Friday. Hopefuls had to cough up a $10,000 application fee, plus another $200,000 that will be refunded to the rejects, and will have to meet strict manufacturing, quality, and operating guidelines. Each licensee will be allowed to open up to four dispensaries, though they must be dispersed around the state.
Bogolubov said his company, which has been slinging hash since 2009, is prepared to jump through all the necessary hoops.
“We’re old-timers by industry standards,” he said.
The state will announce the five successful applicants some time this summer, and the companies will be able to start manufacturing and distributing in January 2016.