Weed Dispensary Planned For Middle Village

The site of the proposed location on Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village.

By Alicia Venter | aventer@queensledger.com

An application is set to be filed for a legal cannabis dispensary at 74-03 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, Queens Community Board 5 announced in a press release.

The community board was notified that the entity, The Cannabis Place, intends to file an application for a cannabis dispensary with the N.Y. State Office of Cannabis Management.

A public hearing is set for during Community Board 5’s upcoming monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Christ the King High School (68-02 Metropolitan Avenue, Middle Village).

There is currently one in-person legal cannabis dispensary in Queens as of publication: Good Grades, LLC in Jamaica. In total, there are nine brick-and-mortar legal dispensaries across the five boroughs, and three temporary delivery locations.

State Senator Joe Addabbo, who represents parts of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Middle Village, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven, is looking into the issue, according to his office, and will have a representative at the community board meeting.

Local councilman Robert Holden declined to comment by press time.

Other issues on the monthly meeting agenda include the Proposed City of Yes Carbon Neutrality Citywide Zoning Text Amendment, which states that the New York City Department of City Planning seeks to modernize the city’s Zoning Resolution.

It aims to help the city reach its goal of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 through removing obstacles for the installation of green technology, such as supporting electric vehicles, according to the department’s website.

For more information or to register to speak at the monthly meeting, call the board’s office at 718-366-1834 or email at qn05@cb.nyc.gov. Speakers must register prior to the meeting’s start, and are allotted two to three minutes, depending on the number of speakers.

The meeting will be livestreamed via YouTube and can be found following the meeting on the community board’s website.

Pol Position: Legalizing Cannabis

The rapid legalization of marijuana in New York State is creating some interesting discussions about the potential growth of the marketplace and how and where it can be consumed.

A little history on how it began

Prohibition of marijuana began as early as the 1930s, at a time when there was very little known about the plant’s medicinal and recreational uses. Media mogul William Randolph Hearst, whose empire of newspapers pioneered the use of “yellow journalism,” led the effort to demonize the cannabis plant by funding heavily propagandized and often racially prejudiced material, such as the 1936 film “Reefer Madness,” which exaggerates the events surrounding a group of high school students who are introduced to weed for the first time.
It is largely believed that his tirade to destroy the hemp industry was due to the fact that it produced a cheap substitute for the traditional wood pulp that was used by the industry at the time. However, few were actually aware that it was not the plant itself, but the THC byproduct, that when smoked would create the intoxicating effect that Hearst other elite industrial families helped make illegal.

What really happened…

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was drafted by Harry J. Anslinger, who claimed that cannabis caused people to commit violent crimes and act irrationally. This law essentially made possession or transfer of marijuana illegal through the imposition of a tax on all sales of hemp.
Then in 1970, the Supreme Court deemed the act to be unconstitutional in its violation of the fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.
New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller was elected to office on the campaign promise of being “tough on crime” and in May 1973 he did just that, calling for mandatory sentences of 15 years to life for the sale or possession of narcotics, including those caught with small amounts of pot.

Since 1995, there have been more than 17 million marijuana-related arrests made, including an estimated 545,602 made in 2019 – significantly more than for all violent crimes combined.

This continues to be a major contributor to the overcrowding within our prison system. It also helped create the systemic abuse of the law to leverage the unfair incarceration of those coming from lower-class and impoverished communities.

New York did not reform these regulations until 2009 when NYS Governor David A. Paterson introduced legislation that rolled back excessive sentencing statutes and restored power to judges in regard to first-time, nonviolent drug offenders.

Will New York follow in Jersey’s footsteps?

While there is a possibility that New York could finally permit the sale of recreational-use marijuana, the recent legalization of recreational use marijuana has not created the anticipated rush of customers everyone was expecting.

The recreational sale of marijuana is still prohibited in New York, but thanks to the efforts of our neighboring states, many believe state lawmakers will soon follow suit.

Should they not, however, legislation remains on the table that could potentially decriminalize the use of marijuana on a federal level.

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