The first medical marijuana dispensary is coming to the Bronx, and local elected officials and the company in question are working to ease residents concerns.
PharmaCann, an Illinois-based medical marijuana provider, was recently awarded licenses by New York State to operate four dispensaries, including the one in Hunts Point.
The development comes on the heels of the legalization of medical marijuana in the NY, which Senator Jeff Klein supported and is now trying to pave the way for a smooth arrival of a facility in his district.
The senator met with other community stakeholders, along with the company’s leadership, on August 14 to discuss the community’s concerns and attempt to put some of them to rest.
Initially, some community members and other business owners were angered by the news.
“They’re afraid its going to bring crime,” said Klein.
But the dispensary will be a similar environment to a pharmacy, said Klein, and will have security. Additionally, New York State has a stringent approval process for those with specific health conditions to be eligible for use of medical marijuana.
The dispensary will only be open to licensed patients or their licensed care providers, who will enter the facility’s waiting room and register, explained PharmaCann CEO Teddy Scott, and after a detailed consultation they will have the opportunity to purchase one month’s supply of product.
“This is not a dealer on the corner,” said Scott. “This is a health facility.”
The dispensary is slated to open in January at 1280 Oak Point Avenue, where a strip club tried to open.
PharmaCann will renovate the building, and will be an improvement for the neighborhood, said Scott.
“We looked at it as an opportunity to do good,” he said.
And having access to a medical marijuana dispensary will benefit Bronxites who are suffering from very painful conditions, including cancer.
“These are sick, hurting people,” said Scott.
Scott said he understands why the community might have concerns based on the negative connotations of marijuana, but that those concerns should be assuaged by information about medical marijuana and its dispensaries.
“One of my roles and the company’s roles is to educate,” said Scott.
Both Scott and Klein have said that the August meeting is just the first of many in the community, and that they are optimistic that local fears will be relieved.
“I’m hopeful the community will understand and be supportive,” said Klein.