Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth has sent a letter to New York’s health commissioner expressing concern that all of Nassau County’s current and proposed medical marijuana dispensaries are in North Hempstead and are not more dispersed throughout the county.
The county’s only existing facility is a MedMen dispensary in North New Hyde Park. Curaleaf plans to open a facility in Carle Place this fall, according to the company’s website.
In her letter to Commissioner Howard Zucker, Bosworth said that an application for a new facility in Manhasset means that the town would have a total of three dispensaries. MedMen, the company that applied for the new location, said that the store would be a replacement for its current location in North New Hyde Park, which means that the town would have two dispensaries at once.
A third organization, Fiorello, will soon submit plans to the Department of Health for a Nassau County dispensary, and the company and department are working “to ensure that they do not locate in the same town as the other two dispensing facilities in Nassau County,” said Jill Montag, a spokesperson for the New York Department of Health.
“Time will tell if the North New Hyde Park locations closes, however that doesn’t settle the questions as to why there are no other medical marijuana dispensaries in any other municipality in all of Nassau County,” Bosworth said in a statement.
The state regulates medical marijuana dispensaries so that they are dispersed throughout the state and not congregated in a single area, said Daniel Yi, MedMen’s senior vice president of corporate communications and investor relations.
“Nassau County is one of five counties in New York State with the highest number of certified medical marijuana patients, with 5,365,” Montag said. “Every one of these counties has, or will soon have, more than one dispensing facility.”
There is no limit on the number of dispensaries per county, she said.
Organizations registered to sell medical marijuana are required to get approval from the state Health Department before making plans to close, according to the department.
MedMen already has approval from the state to close its North New Hyde Park location and move to Manhasset, with conditions such as getting local permits and passing a state inspection, Yi said.
“The locations in part are mandated by the state,” Yi said. “You can’t put all four of them in Manhattan.”
“The Department of Health is committed to growing New York’s Medical Marijuana Program responsibly,” Montag said. “The Program has helped thousands of New Yorkers suffering from serious health conditions. Registered organizations must follow strict regulatory requirements on matters including security, packaging, and labeling and have New York State registered pharmacists on staff at dispensing facilities to assist patients.”
MedMen wants to move from North New Hyde Park to Manhasset to be among retail stores, Yi said.
In her letter, Bosworth expressed concern that county residents who need medical marijuana would have to travel from throughout the county to the Town of North Hempstead rather than having more accessible locations in their own towns.
“The purpose of my letter is to start a dialogue to better understand how the locations for facilities are chosen and regulated by the state,” she wrote.
Councilwoman Anna Kaplan said she is also worried about having too many medical marijuana dispensaries in the Town of North Hempstead.
“I have significant concern that North Hempstead should not become a place where clusters of medical marijuana dispensaries operate,” she said in a statement. “Given New York’s current legislative view of marijuana as a purely ‘medical’ substance, permit me to suggest that the most appropriate place from which to dispense marijuana would be a medical facility with appropriate security.”
In a news release, Bosworth also encouraged residents to call their state representatives about the issue.