He is seeking greener pastures.
A Park Slope farmer who has long furnished Brooklyn with grass-fed beef is now looking to supply the borough with grass.
The former head-honcho of high-end Slope meat market Fleisher’s is now in the medicinal weed business, and recently signed a lease on a building in Greenwood Heights, where he hopes to open one of the city’s first pot dispensaries next year.
“I live in Brooklyn, and I felt as though it would be a good place for our headquarters,” said Mark Justh, who is the chief executive officer of prospective pot-slinger Mindful Medical New York, and still raises all the pigs and some of the cows for Fleisher’s stores on his farm near Syracuse upstate.
Mindful Medical, which runs dispensaries in Colorado, is one of 43 of companies vying for one the state’s first five licenses to grow and distribute medical marijuana in New York. If it scores one of the coveted pot permits, the company plans to open a pharmacy and headquarters at 800 Third Ave., between 27th and 28th street, near Industry City.
Justh, a former banker who has been farming livestock since 2008 and was the chief executive officer of Fleisher’s until earlier this year, said he joined the company this spring after it approached him about growing prescription dope on his property. He said blazing a trail in New York’s budding medical Mary Jane industry appealed to him as both a farmer and an entrepreneur.
“I’ve always been interested in new applications for agriculture,” said Justh. “I found it intellectually interesting, and there is also a massive unmet need in the state.”
Justh, who splits his time between his home in Park Slope and his farm, said he is already speaking with local officials to make sure his prospective organic pharmacy will not harsh Greenwood Heights’ mellow.
“Let’s be very clear that Brooklyn is my home,” said Justh “It’s super important to me that this go well.”
The quiet nabe is unlikely to be overrun with reefer madness. New York’s new medical marijuana laws — considered some of the strictest in the country — will only allow distributors to dole out cannabis extracts, such as oils and capsules, rather than smokeable buds or edibles like hash brownies. Card-carrying medical marijuana patients will be the only people allowed to step foot in the facilities, and those prescriptions are hard to come by — they’re only available to folks with serious conditions including cancer, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis.
Justh’s outfit is not the only company hoping to open a pot dispensary in Brooklyn. In June, Long Island’s Palliatech, which slings medical weed in Washington, inked a lease in second-floor unit on Fulton Mall Downtown.
Albany is expected to name the five permit recipients later this month. Each company will be allowed to open four dispensaries around the state, and can begin operating in January next year.