Jersey City entrepreneurs are opening cannabis outlets in the Heights area.
The Jersey Journal found three dispensaries with all local licenses before state approval. Blossom Dispensary will open on Tonnelle Avenue, while The Leaf Joint and Decades Dispensary will open in the Central Avenue commercial zone.
Five additional candidates have local cannabis board clearance.
The Leaf Joint, a CBD store at 391 Central Ave., is seeking state authority to sell recreational cannabis. Its CEO, David Jefferson, has all municipal approvals.
“(Cannabis) just not fully for what people imagine it’s for,” he said. It’s also medicinal. My family has done it for years, and my friends have had a lot of trouble smoking a plant.”
Jefferson claims his recreational cannabis firm has received “very favorable” feedback. He also stated he collaborates with Councilman Yousef Saleh, the Central Avenue Special Improvement District, and grassroots cannabis decriminalization campaigns.
Saleh, who represents Ward D in the Heights, said the dispensaries will benefit the community, citing decriminalization, generational wealth, and community benefits of recreational cannabis legalization last year.
“Not just from a tax revenue, but also because I don’t think any other industry has the same level of criteria as the cannabis industry, and I’ve been an early supporter,” he said.
Saleh says he’s “extremely open” to dispensaries in the Heights because the community is “wonderful” and family-friendly.
Dispensaries on Central Avenue divided local business owners and managers. Ana Peralca, manager of Cuteticles nail salon a few doors down from Decades, said dispensaries will bring more customers to neighboring companies.
Angel’s Recipe Ice Cream & Crepes owner Sheikh Asil opposes cannabis businesses because youngsters smoke marijuana, which is unhealthy. State law. State law allows only 21-year-olds to buy and use cannabis.
Jefferson worries that Central Avenue will become an Amsterdam-style cannabis community with dispensaries on every block.
He also criticizes the paucity of dispensary applications in Black neighborhoods like Bergen-Lafayette.
“It’s fairly evident that the folks with the money (who are) coming in want to go into the places where they think they’ll get the bang for their dollar,” he added.
Jefferson has only heard complaints about dispensaries oversaturating one location.
Saleh said he’s heard concerns about cannabis companies and parking, but if there are “a good number” of dispensaries, it won’t be an issue.
Saleh predicted that few will visit the Heights. I think Jersey City will have many dispensaries. I think it will assist adjacent businesses and the community through their community impact strategies.
Jersey City’s response to cannabis dispensaries has been quieter than Hoboken’s not-in-my-backyard campaign, which has resulted in litigation, blowback, and political tit-for-tats.
In the 2020 statewide referendum to legalize marijuana, 61,449 Jersey City citizens voted yes to 19,475 who voted no.
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