A medical marijuana dispensary is one step closer to setting up in Brooklyn after a community board Wednesday approved its location as the state gets ready to announce which companies will be given licenses. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
Located under the Gowanus Expressway in Sunset Park, a vacant building that used to house batting cages may soon grow into a new business: a medical marijuana dispensary. A cannabis company called Mindful Medical leased the site, hoping to be one of just five to get a vendor license from New York State.
"With 20 dispensaries throughout the state and a potential population of 200,000 who have to buy their medication on a monthly basis, you can start to understand that this, again, will be a destination," said Erik Williams, public affairs director with Mindful Medical.
The state passed the medical marijuana law last summer. Forty-three applicants are vying to be part of highly regulated program. To be eligible, a company needs to have a grow facility and four distribution locations statewide.
Mindful Medical presented its "seed-to-sale" proposal to the local community board's health committee Wednesday. As a large producer in Colorado, it teamed up with a Park Slope resident to also bring dispensaries to Binghamton, Buffalo and Yonkers.
"Our grow facility, which is a one-acre high-tech pharmaceutical processing facility, it's in Georgetown, New York, which is between Binghamton and Syracuse," said Mark Justh, CEO of Mindful Medical NY.
If state-approved, the company said the site will also become its New York headquarters, and promised it will be secure and stench-free.
"There isn't an odor in the store that signifies this is medical cannabis," said Meg Sanders, CEO of Mindful Medical Colorado.
When board members asked about cannabis containers being targeted en route to the stores, Williams said, "Any time that we would leave, we would let the state as well as law enforcement know that we had a vehicle on the road at that time. It's all GPS-tracked."
Getting a license is a big challenge. Then, there's getting product on the shelf in a new market, on a tight schedule.
The state wants the medical marijuana program to be up and running by January 1.