Hoboken council to vote on if cannabis dispensaries can be within 200 feet of schools


The Hoboken City Council is poised to vote on the first reading of an ordinance to decide if cannabis dispensaries can be located within 200 feet of schools, as opposed to the current 600 feet, with at least two council members adamantly opposed.

Culture Hoboken, Inc. proposed space at 321 Washington St. Photo courtesy of the Hoboken Cannabis Review Board.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The local legislation, sponsored by 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen and Councilman-at-Large Joe Quintero, says that the governing body wants their cannabis regulations more in line with New Jersey’s alcohol regulations.

“The Hoboken City Council seeks to align its Cannabis regulations more closely with NJ alcohol requirements; therefore, bringing local requirements more into conformity with the intent of the CREAMM Act,” the ordinance states.

” … Hoboken has made it clear that it wants cannabis retailers to operate here to (1) serve the needs of adult use customers, (2) reduce or eliminate the black-market sales, and (3) increase revenue to the city.”

An opposing resolution, sponsored by 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher and Council President Jen Giattino, says this would go against the cannabis regulations of at least 21 other states.

“A resident also brought to my attention that while a dispensary is prohibited from being located on the same block of a school, it could be located on the adjacent block,” the resolution cites from a March 1st, 2022 Nixle alert from Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

“As a result, I also propose that any dispensary be prohibited from being located within 750 feet of any school or early childhood learning facility.”

Also entering the fray is Liz Urtecho, who unsuccessfully challenged Cohen in November and is spearheading a lawsuit against the Blue Violets dispensary that remains ongoing despite their planning board approval getting vacated in September.

“This is concerning and raises questions about the city’s commitment to prioritizing the health and safety of Hoboken children. The proposed amendment would (1) reduce the allowable proximity to schools from 600 to 200 feet; (2) change the measurement of distance from point to point to ‘normal’ walking distance; and (3) allow dispensaries to open on the same block as a school,” she wrote in an email blast this morning.

“No state that has legalized marijuana has a school proximity law that is as low as 200 feet. In fact, the states, with the exception of one, have proximity restrictions of 500 feet or greater. This includes densely populated states like New Jersey. A 200 foot school buffer would place Hoboken as one of the shortest distances in the nation, raising concerns about the safety and well-being of the city’s youth in comparison to other jurisdictions.”

Cohen did not return an email seeking comment, but Quintero replied at length, first indicating that the proposal would not guarantee that any cannabis dispensaries would be close to schools.

“In Hoboken, we’ve permitted six licenses for retail locations – four are currently approved locally (with both Blue Violets and Harmony in limbo). Ultimately, we want to get six open and operating so that we can further our goals of serving adult use customers, reducing or eliminating black market sales, and increasing revenues for our city,” he told HCV in an email.

“Our current 600 foot rule practically eliminates the opportunity for future responsible retailers from finding suitable locations in Hoboken …  The NJ CREAMM Act is clear in that its intention is to control and legalize cannabis ‘in a similar fashion to the regulation of alcohol for adults.’ In Hoboken we simply aren’t doing that.”

He continued that the 600 foot rule makes cannabis dispensaries taboo, as opposed to liquor stores, also pointing out that neighboring Jersey City has a 200-foot rule, which will help keep Hoboken “better positioned to meet its goals of establishing this new market …”

As for Fisher, she said her resolution largely speaks for itself, adding that the ordinance is “rushed and irresponsible” since it goes against the common sense cannabis ordinance brokered by the mayor and council in April 2022.

Finally, city spokeswoman Marilyn Baer kept her response on this topic short and sweet.

“Mayor Bhalla looks forward to reviewing the modifications proposed by the ordinance, and hearing feedback from the community.”

The Hoboken City Council convenes at City Hall, 94 Washington St., tomorrow at 7 p.m. and the meeting will stream on their Facebook and YouTube pages.

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/hcvcp/public_html/wp-content/themes/Hudson County View/includes/wp_booster/td_block.php on line 353


  1. A few questions for the Council:

    1.) Do we believe that cannabis users in Hoboken are currently underserved?
    2.) Do we really believe these shops will reduce or eliminate “black market” sales — which tend to be less expensive than products sold through regulated dispensaries carrying an overhead? Do we plan to heighten our enforcement of black market regulations to ensure those sales are, in fact, reduced or eliminated?
    3.) Out of curiosity, how much money does the city expect to make on these businesses on an annual basis?
    4.) How much have these dispensary operators contributed to the political war chests of those on the council, or within the administration?

    • Long before NJ was decriminalizing weed, Ravi was holding a meeting in the Jubilee Center in the back of town. Attendees were stunned to see it filled to the brim with wannabe weed merchants who ran it.

      Through magical Ravi scamming of the City Council shoving a Fulop family physical therapy biz converted to a weed outlet, one of the most dense family areas of town will NEVER be underserved with weed. Wait until it’s open and people buy weed there and hang out on the waterfront. It’s going to bring a whole new element.

      Ravi gets paid, one way or another. Ravi always makes sure to get paid. He was planning the weed shop scam, for years.

    • comes across your trying to veil “curiosity as questions” but really just venting anger cloaked statements . You couldve learned alot by going to all town hall meeting alongside city council meetings from day one. Just be straight forward with your anger.

      • Fact is when most of the Hoboken City Council said they were unaware of the loophole in Hoboken regulations that would has permitted Jackie Fulop’s cannabis store in a residential condo building on 14th Street, Councilman at Large Jim Doyle said he did.
        He said nothing to the resdients or apparently to many of his fellow Council Members.
        That is curious…or maybe not.

  2. Bhalla & Co in an effort for a political headline they could use rushed Hoboken into the cannabis distribution business without being transparent and honest with the people of our City.

    As we all know the devil is in the details and since they did not bother to vet the details at the time it is now time to carefully review the details.

    Hoboken residents need to make sure that another gap in the regulations that allowed Mrs Fulop to open her store in a residential condo building in Hoboken BTW Jersey City regulations would prohibit such a business.

  3. This is clearly special legislation designed to benefit dispensaries with current leases in school zones. Joe “Clueless” Quintero is again misleading the public by stating the 600 ft rule “practically eliminates the opportunity for future responsible retailers from finding suitable locations in Hoboken.” That is simply not true. There are currently plenty of available spaces for a dispensary to go that wouldn’t be within 600 ft of school. Instead of lying to the public, he should make the case why it’s a good thing for Hoboken families to have a marijuana dispensary (which is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government) next to, or across the street from, a school full of 3, 4 and 5 year old children.

    • https://hudsoncountyview.com/hoboken-council-members-agree-to-pull-competing-agenda-items-about-cannabis/

      Looks like “Clueless Quintero” is someone whom actually works to reach across the isle. Lets not retrograde to acting like simians inhibiting the process of our communities evolution, which is communication. He called fisher to pull the meeting tonight in order to have production on going dialogue. Which is the opposite of acting hastily. Which is something we all should practice. Lets see if you can acknowledge him and his efforts??

      • Quintero is Bhalla’s weed guy nothing more. After being humiliated by the public backlash of Bhalla’s ham handed cannabis sales plan he need to rethink it or least pretend he is. He has already proven he should not be trusted.

      • Wow that was difficult to read! Anyway, I’ll acknowledge that after realizing he did not have sufficient support for his resolution, Clueless Joe made the right decision in pulling it. I’m still looking forward to hearing him explain how Hoboken’s children and families benefit from dispensaries next to, and across the street from, schools while there are numerous other options currently available that don’t require changing the law.