After judge’s ruling, Blue Violets dispensary protests Hoboken’s cannabis rules


After a judge ruled to vacate their planning board approval last week, the owners and a few supporters of the Blue Violets dispensary protested Hoboken’s cannabis rules at last night’s city council meeting.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

Max Thompson, a co-owner of Blue Violets, said they were in disbelief after discovering that a Hudson County Superior Court judge ruled against them last week.

“For a day or so, it felt like a bad dream we could not wake up from. But our sadness quickly turned to anger … Something here is very broken,” he explained.

Thompson said they have reached hundreds in person and thousands online who support their opening, adding that they will be filing an appeal.

“We’ve even had other lawyers reach out and offer their services pro bono,” he noted.

He later claimed that Story Dispensary changed the cannabis dynamic in town, to the detriment of small business owners.

“People were upset. The rules were changed quickly. We will not be silent about this because it is further evidence it is a systemic problem that needs to be fixed. I do have faith that we can work together and fix it.”

He called on the council to amend the cannabis licensing process by grandfathering in their approval for dispensaries near schools, which would include heightened operational requirements.

They are working on a draft proposal to make exception to the “common sense” cannabis rules approved by the council in April 2022 by an 8-1 vote, with only 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo voting no.

“We are urging all of you to please consider them, discuss them so we can go back to the Planning Board again,” Thompson added.

For the moment, they must obtain a zoning board variance to operate in their current space, 628 Washington St.

“With Hoboken’s election coming up, we plan to be very active in this conversation,” Blue Violets Co-owner Lauren Thompson, Max’s wife, declared. She asserted that many falsely claim a dispensary is dangerous.

“There was never any study, science, or logic to support a complete ban of dispensaries within 600 feet of schools. It is completely arbitrary,” Lauren Thompson exclaimed.

“We must prohibit minors from even seeing cannabis on the street, let alone entering the store and purchasing it. I have absolutely no incentive to sell cannabis to minors.

Regarding possible security concerns, Thompson said the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission has approved their security measures, calling them “above and beyond.”

Do Good Donuts shop owner Emily Wirt said she consumes cannabis daily and asserted that concerns about school aged children are largely, if not completely, manufactured.

“This isn’t about marijuana or our children. This is a small business issue very near and dear to me. This is about sneaky ordinances passed last-minute … and politically motivated lawsuits,” she declared, noting that 5th Ward council candidate Liz Urtecho spearheaded the lawsuit through a nonprofit group.

“Our world is literally on fire, and we’re still arguing about marijuana. The tired legal witch hunt that is being led off the back of the city’s asinine 600 foot ordinance is being led by someone who is lo and behold running for city council. And so, a small business ends up being political collateral. These children are already addicted to nicotine vapes, which they can buy on nearly every block in this town.”

She continued that it is hypocritical that Story Dispensary gets to open after reaching a settlement with the condo owners of the building, to the benefit of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop since his wife co-owns the building, but small businesses can’t get anything.

Wirt added that a bar recently opened with a smiling fish mascot that she argues is appealing to children.

“We do not care if alcohol ruins our children, do we? This isn’t Reagan’s America: For God’s sake, give us our weed. Do what you can to support Blue Violets’ efforts.”

Scott Zucker claimed the court ruling was flawed and that this is not sending a message to some large corporation since the Thompsons are doing this venture on their own.

“I’m also here in support of Blue Violets. They followed the rules to the best of their ability. It does not sound right,” Nancy Bevelaqua added.

She explained she did not initially like cannabis, but it has helped with sleeping more recently and it is expensive to travel without a car to Secaucus or Jersey City to buy some.

“Many other schools in Hoboken are just feet away from bars, liquor stores, and smoke shops. Obviously, there’s no ID checking … If youth want weed, they can easily get it from illicit buyers,” she added.

Cannabis entrepreneur Matha Figaro also came out in support of the Thompsons, pointing out the city was losing out on revenue.

“Hoboken stands to lose significantly. You are missing out on an incredible influx of dollars if you do not allow them into your municipality,” Figaro argued.

She also noted that Lauren Thompson, an Asian American, is the majority owner of Blue Violets, and the court ruling sends the wrong message.

“You’re telling everybody in the State of New Jersey that if you’re a woman, or if you are a minority, you’re not welcome here. Let us not miss out on this economic and social and benefit.“

The Hoboken City Council did not comment on the situation and took no formal action on the matter at the uncharacteristically short meeting, which only lasted for about an hour and 20 minutes.

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  1. Terrapin will open soon downtown and all will be fine for the weed needy. Also to note, didn’t hear anyone protesting about Terrapin…perhaps it is because they followed the rules of the law?? It’s a shame these two put all their money into this but the failure to file docs on time/properly is not the city’s fault.

  2. It is too bad that the owners opted to continue to work on the storefront when the facts were not in their favor with regard to filing their paperwork after the common sense ordinance was passed. It was very risky and backfired. The city should have helped them find another location.

  3. Hey Lauren and Max, take your clown show to Newark – Hoboken survived WW1, WW2, 9/11 and Sandy— We will survive without your tiny weed shop.

    You built out your store without your approval from the CRB- so take a hike – spoiled brats