The North Bergen Board of Commissioners unanimously approved (5-0) two legal cannabis retail businesses at Wednesday evening’s meeting.
“We have two licenses available, one uptown and one downtown, so the cannabis committee met and they are recommending to the mayor and commissioners two applicants,” began Business Administrator Janet Castro.
“So the first one is Daily Muse, 6901 Tonnelle [Ave.], and the second one is Green House Apothecary, 1600 Tonnelle Avenue. One north of 43rd [Street] and one south.”
State Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco recognized that many municipalities have opted out of having legal cannabis businesses, which includes neighboring municipalities like Union City and Weehawken, but said he felt this was the right thing to do after voters overwhelmingly approved legalization in 2020.
” … We’re fortunate to be able to spread ours apart because we have the Tonnelle Avenue/ West Side Avenue corridor. And by doing that, we’re able to do this, I think it will help the town financially and since the legalization, it’s the right thing to do.”
Castro also noted that the cannabis committee included her, Police Chief Peter Fasilis, and Director of Community Improvements Pete Hammer, who all facilitated a months-long process to review nine different applications.
“Anybody who had any interest in partnering with the township and applying for the license, we gave everybody an opportunity and they came forward, they provided presentations, business plans, projections, and of course location playing a significant part of that process.”
Pharoah Lozano, the CEO of Green House Apothecary, said being granted the license was “a great honor but also a big responsibility,” noting that the business would be run by lifelong North Bergen residents with a goal of de-stigmatizing cannabis in mind.
“I think mainly it’s really about de-stigmatizing cannabis, and not only that, it’s making sure that we have community impact. We’re gonna be reaching out to the community … we have a 10-step process of how we’re really going to integrate this business into North Bergen so that the community as a whole can come out better on the other side.”
Lozano added that he’s hopeful that the business will be operational by early 2023.
Amazing! Thanks Nick Sacco for recognizing that we need to destigmatize this plant medicine and that yes, voters did overwhelmingly vote to support legalization. There is absolutely no reason to keep this relatively safe plant as a schedule 1 drug with all the criminal repercussions that mostly people of color and minorities have faced in this failed War on Drugs – for DECADES. You’re doing the right thing by your voters.