The Jersey City Planning Board approved the a minority woman-owned cannabis micro-dispensary at 125 Christopher Columbus Drive at last night’s meeting.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
Cannabotique by Greenhouse would be near the Grove Street PATH station that is also a short walk from the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza.
They are also planning to open a consumption lounge, but Jersey City is waiting on the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission to finalize state rules first. Thus, their application before the planning board only consisted of the dispensary part of the business.
Cannabotique attorney Andy Sick said it’s owned and operated by Julissa Bonilla and they were approved by the Jersey City Cannabis Control Board last September. During that hearing, Bonilla explained she was born and raised in the city.
Architect John Liguori explained the layout of the establishment, noting it’s 2,500 square feet, the maximum size for a microbusiness.
“It has two ADA (handicap accessible) bathrooms and an office,” he noted, also explaining they would renovate the brick building facade and paint it white with frosted glass, making it difficult to see inside.
“Is there any kind of buffer entrance? Doesn’t the zoning call for an interior entrance as well? A place to check IDs?” Board Chair Christopher Langston asked.
“I have had some conversations with the applicant. It might be best to hear from them,” Supervising Planner Matt Ward said.
“Is there any second egress?” Commissioner Joey Torres asked.
“A second egress is not required by building code,” Ward replied.
Bonilla added that he wasn’t under the impression that they needed a waiting area since it’s not in any ordinance or other municipal code.
“Matt, is that correct?” Langston asked.
“It might be good to speak about how you’re utilized technology when dealing with customers and their entry,” Ward said.
Bonilla elaborated on how the business would be run to try and quell some of the board’s concerns.
“Everyone who comes will have their ID checked just to make sure they’re over 21. We’ll also have a hostess by the door as well to take everyone’s IDs. There will be security by the door. Every order taken, the POS (Point of Sale System) houses their information as well,” Bonilla said.
“I know they’re required to have secure storage areas um, which they did delineate,” Ward said.
He said it’s similar to a CBD store that was approved to become a cannabis dispensary, which is a microbusiness that also didn’t have a vestibule.
“Yes, that was a while ago,” Langston noted. “Are there security cameras?”
“Yes. They will be behind the registers, covering almost every inch of the store,” Bonilla added.
Torres continued by asking if there would be security on the side of the building, to which Bonilla said they wouldn’t since it is not possible for anyone to access that area.
“One of the items that’s a little bit different from the majority of Class 5 cannabis retailers we’ve received is this is a microbusiness, and they’re in an area that’s not only within the buffer area … by PATH stations … and the neighborhood commercial district where we encourage micro businesses to locate,” Ward explained.
He also said there is no 600 feet door-to-door spacial distance requirement for microbusinesses.
Ward also pointed out that this allows other cannabis companies to be in close proximity, which is a controversial issue in the city. Ward explained a micro business is small.
“They are on a lot that’s 2,5000 square feet and they can’t be on a lot that’s bigger than that,” Ward said.
“l wish you all the best,” Commissioner Steve Lipski said before voting aye.
“Do you have your state approvals yet?” Langston asked.
“Yes, I have my conditional approval. We’re just missing the municipal approval so we can apply for the conversion,” Bonilla said.
“Best of luck. I vote aye. I hope to see you open soon,” Langston responded.
Ultimately, the board approved the application unanimously (6-0), with Vice Chair Dr. Orlando Gonzalez absent.