MedMen, a medical marijuana company licensed by the state of New York, has the state’s approval to relocate a dispensary from North New Hyde Park to Manhasset, according to a company official.
It plans to complete the property renovation in the spring or early summer of 2019.
In the meantime, it will take steps to ensure compliance with local ordinances and state medical marijuana regulations. The company will also introduce itself to Manhasset, sending representatives to attend and hold meetings and meet residents to familiarize them with the company and its philosophies, said Daniel Yi, MedMen’s senior vice president of corporate communications and investor relations.
MedMen chose to move from its location in Lake Success because it wanted to be among retail stores, Yi said. It is doing similar short-distance moves for other MedMen locations in New York.
New York medical marijuana regulations require dispensaries to be geographically spread out. Moving a few miles allows MedMen to stay within its regulated boundaries while moving into a retail area.
The new location is at 1575 Northern Blvd., which is currently a Sleep Number store.
Yi has full confidence that the Manhasset store will be realized.
Richard Bentley, president of the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations, learned about MedMen’s Northern Boulevard application from Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan and described it to his group as a project to push back on. Since then, he has gotten calls from residents throughout Manhasset dismayed about the news.
“I’ve never heard a single call of anyone expressing the fact that they support a medical marijuana facility in our neighborhood,” he said. “They’re all screaming objections.”
Some who live near the address think that their home values could decline, he said. Bentley said he would prefer for the dispensary to be kept away from residences and other retail outlets, as it was in North New Hyde Park.
It is not uncommon for MedMen stores to be in business districts, Yi said. The Manhattan store neighbors a Lord & Taylor. The company also has stores in popular retail areas in Los Angeles, including a section of businesses in West Hollywood near a residential area.
“We think of ourselves as good neighbors,” Yi said. “Aside from the fact that we’re a medical marijuana dispensary, we hope to be like any other retailer. In the Manhasset location there’s a Barnes & Noble across from the location.”
Bentley is worried that the medical marijuana facility would become a general marijuana store should the state legalize the drug for recreational use.
The stores could transform into such facilities if the law changes, Yi said.
The company strongly supports the regulation of marijuana through legalization to allow it to be more professionally handled and integrated into the economy, rather than sold on the black market.
“Today in New York it’s a medical marijuana program, but we see a future where New York would legalize adult marijuana, and, if that happens, you want something like MedMen that operates within the law and puts the customer at the center of everything we do,” Yi said.
Yi understands why residents may be concerned about a dispensary coming to their neighborhood, especially given that marijuana is not fully legalized in New York. MedMen tries to break “pot shop” stereotypes by having highly professional stores and staff, he said. News outlets have compared MedMen locations to Apple stores.
“Part of our mandate as a business is to educate folks about it and to help people understand that this is an asset,” Yi said.
A MedMen representative invited Bentley to visit the company’s store in Manhattan to get a feel for how the business runs, Bentley said. Bentley and members of the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations plan to educate themselves about the issue and meeting with the company to discuss concerns.
“What I’m confident in is this is not going to proceed quickly,” Bentley said. “This is going to be well thought out and explored in advance before the town makes any decisions. I’m confident in that only because I know our legislators, I know our town supervisor. They’re people that care very much about residents’ opinions.”