Jersey City CCB OK’s 3 dispensaries, including new location for county commissioner


The Jersey City Cannabis Control Board (CCB) approved three dispensaries, including a new location for a business co-owned by Hudson County Commissioner Jerry Walker (D-3), and adjourned one more that had previously been pushed at last night’s meeting.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

Top of the Pot Dispensary was seeking approval to open at 802 Garfield Ave. They were previously approved last December, but at a different location: 107 West Side Ave.

Attorney Tom Leane noted Hudson County Commissioner Jerry Walker (D-3) serves as the vice president (49 percent owner), while Tuesday Cardwell, the wife of politico Joe Cardwell, is president (51 percent owner).

Leane also acknowledge that they were approved at a different location and said they had to switch after they determined that location wasn’t viable.

Walker explained his non-profit, Team Walker, helps youth and seniors. He is aiming to secure an endowment for the non-profit so it can continue, while Cardwell noted she works for the Jersey City Law Department.

“Can you elaborate on which community members you’ll work with?” Cantarero asked.

Walker replied that they plan to help with food insecurity and encourage STEM education with the Liberty Science Center, who is also a big part of the SciTech Scity endeavor.

“Are there other non-profits you work with?” CCB attorney Ron Mondello asked, noting there was an issue with a prior applicant.

The county commissioner said they’re also working with AngelaCARES, the nonprofit of Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31), also the Democratic nominee for state Senate, and Black Law Enforcement Serving the Community (BLESC )to hold toy and turkey drives.

“What he’s done speaks for itself,” Uforia Dispensary owner Bashkim Spahi said during the public comment period.

“Those are pretty weighty comments considering he’s a competitor,” Mondello joked.

The CCB approved them 2-0(2), with Chair Brittani Bunney and Commissioner Sonia Marte-Dublin abstaining.

To begin the meeting, Marte-Dublin, the city’s recycling director, was sworn in as a commissioner to replace Health and Human Services Director Stacey Flanagan. Her husband is Hudson County Registrar Jeff Dublin.

Art 440 Co., LLC / Art Dispensary at 669 Bergen Ave was first. They were tabled at the May CCB meeting after their attorney, Walter Nealy, acknowledged there were security plan issues.

He said that since then owner Anna Tolentino, a disbarred attorney, met with the Jersey City Police Department and developed a security plan.

Bunney noted the specific issue was their lack of a community impact plan.

“I walked the streets by myself. I went to several businesses. They signed it (the petition). I did not like walking these streets,” Tolentino explained.

“Walk us through your community impact plan,” Commissioner Courtney Sloane asked.

“I’m a Jersey City native. I want to be a part of helping the community and the business owners so we have a safe community. I am prepared to give back to the community,” Tolentino noted.

Bunney then pressed her to get down to the brass tacks of her plan to give back to the community.

“You said you would be helping financially. Have you set that plan in motion?” Cantarero asked.

“I have reached out to them. I can have an expungement clinic,” Tolentino.

Sloane said that it was clear that requirement still hadn’t been met before the matter was again adjourned by a tally of 3-0(1), with Marte-Dublin abstaining and Commissioner Jeff Kaplowitz was absent.

The Number Spot, Inc., located at 539 Martin Luther King Drive was next. They were tabled at the June meeting. Coincidentally, their attorney, Nick Lewis, noted they have updated their security plan too.

They are a woman-owned business, with Naima Terry running it, that is also seeking a microbusiness cannabis dispensary license from the state. She is a Jersey City native who now lives in Newark.

Lewis said the building’s second floor will be devoted to community impact issues, with expungement clinics being held there, and an emphasis on hiring local residents.

Terry said her parents struggled with drug addiction while her great-grandparents were entrepreneurs and she ended up inheriting this property.

“It is my mission… to help this new generation produce leaders. My goal is to be a Black Multi-State Operator,” she said.

Developer Veronica Sutton will receive a portion of sales for community development.

“Thank you for choosing Ward F,” Cantarero said to applause.

Bunney noted that Terry wants a cannabis consumption lounge, though the matter is tied up in litigation at the moment.

“One license at a time,” Terry joked.

Sutton said Terry interned for her at the Urban League, noting that Terry was previously a fashion model. Sutton explained they want to educate seniors on the nuances of cannabis. They are also working with the Hudson County Anti-Violence Coalition.

“This is what we’re looking for. Leave Jersey City better than you found it,” Bunney said to applause from the crowd.

Marte-Dublin and Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31) also spoke on her behalf as an entrepreneur.

“This particular program will educate seniors to stay in their homes. This is an asset, and we can find programs in New Jersey to support them … and pull equity out. We can keep generational wealth here in Jersey City,” McKnight explained.

Jennifer Martin spoke on behalf of several gathered to support Terry.

“It’s just an example of the type of vibration she sets. We’re here to support you every step of the way,” she said to applause.

The CCB approved the Number Spot unanimously (4-0).

Capital Virtues LLC, seeking to open at 154 Martin Luther King Drive, was next. They were tabled at the June meeting.

Attorney Esperanza Segarra pointed out that  Delilah Rose Scott is the owner and they have a conditional license from the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

Segarra noted they also have a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with Angela Cares, McKnight’s nonprofit.

“For about seven or eight years Angela Cares has been giving out diapers to the community. We have a plethora of seniors who get Depends from us. They’re going to provide storage,” McKnight stated.

Scott noted she met with noted Hispanic advocate Juan Cartagena, of the Latino Justice group. She said they want him to teach Caribbean culture and the medical benefits of cannabis to the public.

Scott further states that she also wants to help felons get jobs in the cannabis industry. She noted she is Puerto Rican.

UFCW Local 360 Director of Organizing Hugh Giordano endorsed their application.

“This is exactly what Social Equity should look like,” he argued.

Giordano explained they signed a Labor Peace Agreement (LPA), which means they would not interfere if their workers sought to unionize to secure benefits.

The CCB approved Capital Virtues LLC 3-0(1), with Marte-Dublin abstaining since she had not heard their application previously.

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