The Hoboken Planning Board carried the application of the Culture Hoboken Inc. cannabis dispensary application due to potential jurisdiction issues since they had not yet been heard by the cannabis review board.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
“We did appear before the Cannabis Review Board (CRB). We did not receive the recommendation,” applicant attorney Thomas Leane said.
Beyond that, at the May Hoboken Cannabis Review Board meeting, Commissioner Leo Pellegrini, also the city’s health and human services director, was concerned there was already a dispensary nearby their proposed location of 321 Washington St.
Commissioner Jason Freeman, also the city business administrator, followed up by citing issues with their experience, lack of a lease, and parking.
At last night’s hearing, Hoboken Planning Board Chair Frank Magaletta noted a cannabis dispensary needs CRB approval first. He noted that the “common sense” reforms approved by the city council in April made getting approvals more difficult.
“You have to have an endorsement from the CRB … before. I understand what you’re saying. It puts us in a little bit of a bind there,” he said.
“My recommendation would be that we proceed. Time of application may apply here, but my recommendation would be that we proceed,” Planning Board Counsel Scott Carlson said.
Planning Board Commissioner Joan Allman asked why they would move forward under the circumstances.
“The application of the ordinance is questionable at this point. So, I err on the side of proceeding and giving the applicant their rights opposing to shutting them down, going to court etc.,” Carlson explained.
“Why can’t they go back to the CRB to try again? We’re not supposed to hear anything until they’re approved,” Allman continued.
“This is a very, very new land use. We should probably just proceed with these unless told otherwise by a court of law,” Carlson said.
Magaletta then asked when the application was first submitted, to which Planning Board Secretary Patricia Carcone said it was received on May 9th.
Leanne said he didn’t have the date handy since he was not part of the application back then, though had applied for a NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission license prior to that.
“This land use ordinance applies to us and it doesn’t apply to the CRB,” Magaletta asserted.
“I don’t believe that a local ordinance can take away my client’s rights. This is a completeness hearing. Our application does need to be reviewed, and we do need to get a determination of whether we’re complete,” Leanne argued.
“Whether we’re taking other actions outside of that … I think that’s of almost no moment for tonight’s hearing. I just want our application reviewed in a timely manner.”
Magaletta noted they might not have jurisdiction to review the application if the CRB has approved it.
“I still have my rights under the MLUL [Municipal Land Use Law] to have my application reviewed. To me tonight is about that,” Leanne continued.
“We still need jurisdiction,” Magaletta replied.
Carlson then came around, arguing CRB approval was necessary for an application to be heard by the Hoboken Planning Board.
“This being such a new area of law, I don’t know if I can address that concern of the board tonight,” Leane stated.
“Would you like an opportunity to take some time?,” Magaletta asked.
“I think that is appropriate at this time. I didn’t know the board’s position on jurisdiction,” Leanne responded.
Magaletta said their application could be heard again at their next meeting on September 13th, requesting that he submit a response in writing 10 days before that and Leanne agreed.
The Culture Hoboken Inc. application was then deemed incomplete and carried by a vote of 3-0, with two commissioners absent.
During the May CRB meeting, Leane explained that Culture is a California-based company. According to their website, they have five locations.
Culture Hoboken Inc. was represented at the meeting by Christina D’Angelo.
She was not present at the previous meeting where COO Sally Yean of California, CEO Simon Lamb of Brooklyn, and Community Representative Andrea Garcia, of Union City, were noted as the company’s senior staff.
“We did appear before the Cannabis Review Board (CRB). We did not receive the recommendation,” applicant attorney Thomas Leane said.”
Urr…If they haven’t received the recommendation, then how can it move forward? What am I missing?