An application for a medical marijuana dispensary in North Hempstead — thought to have been barred by town zoning laws governing pharmacies — has gained preliminary approval as a medical office.
Town officials have said they thought the dispensary, planned for 2001 Marcus Ave. in Lake Success, would operate as a pharmacy, a retail use not permitted at that location. But after Staten Island-based Bloomfield Industries Inc. submitted its application in November, the town’s Department of Buildings determined that it was a medical use for zoning and granted its preliminary approval Dec. 15.
“A medical office conforms with our zoning for that location,” Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in statement released last week. “There is no further review required under our law.”
With no zoning violations, public hearings or community discussions about the application are not required. Colette Bellefleur, Bloomfield’s chief operating officer, said the company will soon begin interior renovations, with the goal to open in January.
“There was no issue with our use of the facility,” Bellefleur added. “We have every intention of serving patients in Nassau County in January.”
The dispensary will be located in a building where several other medical offices are located, including New Hyde Park Orthodontics and Long Island IVF. It is less than a half mile from Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
The 2,480-square-foot dispensary is to be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, according to records obtained by Newsday. Only registered patients and caregivers will be permitted to enter the dispensary, and security guards will monitor the facility, Bellefleur said.
“Someone cannot walk off the street and walk into our dispensaries,” Bellefleur said. “Crowds? It’s just not going to happen. That vision is just not going to become a reality.”
In October, Bosworth urged Bloomfield to consider a more central location in Nassau County that would be “more convenient” for patients and their caregivers. She said in a statement last week that she still preferred another location but added that it was not her call to make.
Bellefleur said Bloomfield selected “geographically disperse” locations that would provide patients easy access to care. In addition to North Hempstead, the company is to open dispensaries, which it calls patient resource centers, in Manhattan, Syracuse, and Williamsville in Erie County.
Bloomfield is one of five registered organizations permitted to operate up to four dispensaries across the state. Another company, Columbia Care NY LLC, is to open a dispensary in Riverhead.
Although the state’s medical marijuana program officially begins Jan. 5, details need to be worked out. Packaging has yet to be finalized and proposed prices have not been approved by the state commissioner of health, Bellefleur said. Patients, who are certified by their health practitioners, must apply to the Department of Health for a registry identification card to obtain medical marijuana.
“We’re making every effort to make all of our patient resource centers operational by then,” Bellefleur said of the start date. “Things happen and we’ll be ready in January.”