Published: July 31, 2023
Even though the retail sale of cannabis became legal in New Jersey in early 2022, dispensaries are just now beginning to open throughout the state. The second dispensary to open in Jersey City is downtown FLWR, located at 141 Newark Avenue.
Cannabis in Hudson County
While paper has been over the windows hiding the activity inside 141 Newark Avenue, the shop is opening up today and is expected to have its ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 4th. According to NJ.com, the store will start off selling medical cannabis while the team waits for approvals to sell recreational products. Just a few weeks ago, the first cannabis dispensary opened in Jersey City. RIPT Dispensary is located at 220 Broadway and sells medicinal products only.
These two dispensaries are the first to open in Jersey City, while at least a dozen more are in the queue. Throughout New Jersey, the two-tiered approval process from the city and the state means that many dispensaries’ plans to open have been hit with delays and other backups. Jersey City has so many applicants that it has put a six-month moratorium on new applicants until it can process the backlog.
Many of the dispensaries with plans in Jersey City will be located in The Heights, but there are more that will be in downtown Jersey City. Applicants who will be near the Grove Street PATH station include Cream Dispensary located at 284 1st Street; Garden Greenz at 190 Newark Avenue; Cannaboutique by Greenhouse located at 123 Columbus Drive; and Local Modiv at 155 Newark Avenue.
In Hoboken, none of the five permitted businesses have opened. Two of the five businesses are embroiled in lawsuits. Story Dispensary, which has plans for the first-floor retail space at 51-53 14th Street, is facing legal challenges from neighbors in the building. Story Dispensary has also been criticized for the involvement of several local officials in the deal, including Jaclyn Fulop, wife of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop; Drew Nussbaum, who runs a superPAC for Fulop; and state Assemblyman Raj Mukherji who represents Hoboken.
A citizen-led group called Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis (HRC) has launched two policy-focused initiatives, one each against Story Dispensary and Blue Violets. HRC has also sued both the city’s planning board and dispensary Blue Violets for zoning-related violations, alleging that the store’s location is too close to schools. Blue Violets will be located at 628 Washington Street.
About the Owner
Amanda Handy is the owner of the downtown FLWR. HG spoke to Amanda last summer in anticipation of the store’s opening. She has first-hand experience with what cannabis can do to improve the quality of life of someone suffering. Amanda is a cancer survivor who turned to cannabis for relief during chemo treatments. She has been working since 2018 to start a medical marijuana business in New Jersey. “I started with medical marijuana to offer people a better quality of life,” she said. “I’ve been a part of the medical marijuana industry in New Jersey for several years.”
Amanda’s path to opening the Jersey City shop started in 2018, when she applied for a vertical license but was denied. She applied again for a medical license in Jersey City in 2019 and was successful. Then, because of the pandemic and the new recreational laws for marijuana in New Jersey, she worked to expand her license to include personal adult use in 2021.
HG reached out again for comment in light of the store’s opening and has not heard back. We will update this story if we do.