Cannabis Dispensary Info


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We all know there has been great concern for two proposed cannabis (marijuana) dispensaries on Forest Ave.  Here is what we know, and how we urge you TO GET INVOLVED to have your voices heard.


1.    The owner of the strip mall (card and bagel store near the Santander Bank) already has a cannabis license granted by the state.  That land and license are owned by the Ha family under an LLC from Queens.  They have asked the card store and the bagel store to move by March 31.  While we mourn losing those stores from our neighborhood, that decision was between the landlord and the business.  The Civic Association has no input into those decisions.  What is a concern to many neighbors, however, is their plan to renovate and operate a state licensed cannabis dispensary there.  You know from previous e-mails that our community issues are zoning and proximity to a church (Bard and Forest) as well as schools and oversaturation on the avenue.  Here is a good example.  In a ten-block corridor between Bement Ave and Hart Blvd there are:

                3 liquor stores

             5 beer stores

             11 bars which includes restaurants that have bars

             3 "smoke" shops 

If that's not saturation, I don't know what is!!!


The Area Committee of the Community Board 1 has voted "nonsupport" for their license; however, the community board opinion is just "advisory" and really cannot stop anything on its own.  However, the CB1 opinion does represent the opinion of our neighborhood.  The Ha family got their license under the "justice " provision of the State Law.  This phrase means that they got to the front of the licensing applications because a license applicant in their group has a history of a legal proceeding against them in the past for marijuana use or sale.  That's the law.  We spoke to Theresa (Ha) who represents the family to express the community concern.  Her response was it is better to have a state regulated shop there versus an illegal smoke shop selling under the table goods to anyone without any regulations or inspection.  I replied to her that the site is not suited for such a business as it is zoned for low density walk up commercial business (C1-2) serving the immediate community (see NYC zoning regulations).   

2.    You can read up on State laws and guidelines that regulate Cannabis Dispensaries at this link :

3.    YOU MUST REMEMBER that these dispensary operations, like liquor stores, are regulated by the STATE LAWS, not NYC laws.  NYC comes into play only if there are zoning issues.

4.    Capitol One bank property.  There is a new tenant that signed a lease with the landlord hoping to get a license for yet another cannabis dispensary for that site.  They want to put a drive-thru there as well.  We have analyzed the property and it is clearly not big enough for parking (1 spot per 150 sq.ft of building) plus a drive-thru that can hold a number of cars on the property (as drive-thru regulations require).  If they were to proceed, they would need a variance from the city.  That is where our City representative Hanks comes in.  We have alerted their staff about our concerns, and they stand ready to assist us in objecting to this drive-thru proposal with the city planning board.  Their office will support the community’s objections.  The concern of neighbors and our Civic Association is we need TWO dispensaries two blocks from each other in an area that is zoned for low level commercial use?  The opposition to this license must be fought on a STATE level.  That is where our state representatives come in:  Scarcella-Spanton, Lanza, Fall and Pirozzolo.

5.    Upcoming meetings you should attend on zoom

COMMUNITY BOARD 1 MEETINGS: (none are in person this month) THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN VOICE YOUR OBJECTION OR SUPPORT for placing a dispensary in a low-density commercial zone designated as such for walk up neighborhood business (C1-2) smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood near schools and places of worship which is oversaturated (see above in #1).  

Tuesday, February 6, 2024 at 6:30 PM – Land Use Public Hearing. - as of now cannabis is NOT on their agenda.... but you never know.  Attend and even if it is not on the agenda, voice your concern!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 at 6:30 PM – Full Board Meeting. - representatives of the State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will be on the Zoom 


TUESDAY FEB 20th at 6:30 is the WEST BRIGHTON AREA COMMITTEE of CB 1.  Again, another place to voice your concerns.   It is a Zoom meeting, but a link is not available yet.  Always check the CB1 website for the latest info or call them directly or check their Facebook page.



              Zoom link/ID and Passcode.

                ID:  275 566 6837

                Passcode:  E3sv3p



6.    THE FRRCA leadership is planning to meet with our four state representatives in the coming weeks to discuss the community concerns.  Thus far, we have spoken to the offices of our Councilwoman, our District Attorney and one of our State Senators.  More meetings are planned in the next two weeks.   Since this is a state issue primarily, they need to hear from our community.  We will invite them to a future FRRCA meeting (hopefully March 7th) as well as a spokesperson from the State Office of Cannabis Management. 


7.    MARCH 7th THURSDAY the next FRRCA MEETING at the FIG church on Bard and Forest.  (in person and on Zoom) We plan to have an informational session and will invite appropriate folks to provide information on the regulations that allow this business to be located in our area.  This is also an opportunity to voice your concern or support.   That meeting is in person as well as on Zoom at the following link:

·                             Go to and click on “Join a Meeting”.

·                             Type in the “Meeting ID” (718 103 0110) and click "JOIN"


Meeting ID718 103 0110 

 If joining in by phone only: Dial 1-646-558-8656, Meeting I.D. 718 103 0110