Medical marijuana dispensary is coming to Riverhead

07/31/2015 3:51 PM |

Medical-marijuana-sign

The New York State Department of Health announced on Friday its selection of five organizations to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana.

And while the application from Jack and Kurt Van de Wetering, under THC Health Inc., to grow marijuana at their Ivy Acres farm was not among those selected, a dispensary from another organization is slated for Riverhead. 

Each organization picked will have one manufacturing site and four dispensing sites across various counties in the state. One of the organizations selected, Columbia Care NY LLC, based out of New York City, will have one Suffolk County site for dispensing.

A spokesman for Columbia, Peter Kerr, said a dispensary will be in Riverhead on Route 58, but couldn’t provide any further details.

“We don’t have a specific location to talk about today,” Mr. Kerr said in an email.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said last month that he had spoken with representatives of two companies that were interested in locating medical marijuana growing facilities at EPCAL, one of which later withdrew its plans.

On Friday, Mr. Walter said he didn’t have any information on Columbia choosing Riverhead as a location for a dispensary. The state hasn’t contacted the town, either, about its latest decision, he said.

“Everything is in the state’s hands now, so we’ll see what the state does with the various applications,” Mr. Walter said. “Certainly, it’s my opinion that this is more of an industrial use and it belongs in an industrial area such as EPCAL.”

According to scores given to each application that the state made public on Friday, neither proposal to grow marijuana in Riverhead came close to being picked by the Department of Health. Out of the 43 plans submitted, THC Health’s score of 74.25 (out of a possible 125 points) scored 33rd. The second proposal in Riverhead — Mindful Medical New York’s, slated for EPCAL — earned 78.75 points, making it the 25th best option according to the state.

While several factors went into determining the viability of each plan, no details about the importance of each part of the proposals had been released before Friday. The Department of Health weighed product manufacturing as the most important part in each proposal, which took up 36 percent of the scores. Quality assurance & staffing followed at 15.2 percent, and financial standing and geographic distribution both were 9.6 percent of the score.

The Van de Wetering’s proposal did not fly too smoothly with members of the Calverton Civic Association, and the Town Board did not offer the project a letter of support when asked by the family. However, according to the state, “public interest” played only a small part in determining the winners and losers of the bids. Public interest fell into the “miscellaneous” category for scoring — which, along with three other factors, made up 3.2 percent of the overall scores, or 4 points in the 125-point scoring system.

The other dispensing locations for Columbia are in New York, Clinton and Monroe. Officials from Columbia are expected to visit the 4,000-square-foot site in Monroe County next week, according to the Democrat and Chronicle.

The Van de Weterings submitted their application — one of 43 total the state reviewed — in early June and they hoped if approved, they could be growing marijuana beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

Kurt Van de Wetering could not immediately be reached for comment.

The other organizations selected were: Bloomfield Industries Inc.; Empire State Health Solutions; Etain, LLC and PharmaCann LLC. The closest manufacturing site to Long Island is from Bloomfield, which will have a site in Queens. Bloomfield will also have a dispensing site in Nassau County.

The Van de Weterings estimated in May that the project could generate about $400 million in annual revenue with Riverhead Town receiving about $4 million in tax revenue and $11 million for Suffolk County.

All of the applications received by the Department of Health will be made public after personal information and other confidential material is redacted, according to a press release.

“Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in the implementation of New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program and keeps us on track to have the program up and running within 18 months of passage of the Compassionate Care Act,” said state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker in a statement.

WITH JEN NUZZO

Photo Caption: David Trawin/Flickr.com

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