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North Hempstead officials say site not zoned for planned marijuana dispensary

Bloomfield Industries, one of the five companies selected

Bloomfield Industries, one of the five companies selected earlier this year to manufacture and distribute medical marijuana, has listed its proposed Nassau location as 2001 Marcus Ave. in Lake Success, seen here on Sept. 22, 2015 Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A medical marijuana dispensary slated for North Hempstead isn't permitted under zoning laws, town officials said.

Staten Island-based Bloomfield Industries Inc. is proposing to build a dispensary at 2001 Marcus Ave., an unincorporated area in North New Hyde Park that is less than a mile from a private Catholic school.

Supervisor Judi Bosworth said the town was not notified about the dispensary. Officials learned in late September of its potential arrival from a media report.

Town Attorney Elizabeth Botwin said officials met with representatives from Bloomfield Industries last week to discuss preliminary details. The current zoning doesn't allow retail uses at that site, she said.

At last month's town board meeting, residents discussed the proposed dispensary.

Carmela Aloe said she didn't oppose legal medical marijuana but that Marcus Avenue was not a good fit.

"There's a ballpark right across the street where children are constantly playing baseball," Aloe, 44, said in an interview Monday. "They're picking places that are too close to where children are."

Janet Romeo, a coordinator at the Epilepsy Foundation of Long Island in East Meadow, said she supports the location because of its proximity to blood testing service centers within the North Shore-LIJ hospital system.

"What more perfect place could it be in?" Romeo asked. "It's not in the form they can party with," she said, referring to the drug.

Romeo said medical marijuana is one of the last options for the roughly 17,000 people in Nassau County who have epilepsy. Some researchers believe that cannabidiol, a major ingredient found in marijuana, is an effective treatment for seizures.

Bloomfield Industries is one of five companies selected to open medical marijuana dispensaries in New York State for a January launch. Under a new state law passed last year, medical marijuana's sale was legalized, with a few restrictions.

Access is limited to patients with serious medical conditions such as cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. The marijuana would be sold by prescription in pill, liquid or oil form.

The Marcus Avenue location would be Nassau County's first dispensary. Another company, Columbia Care NY LLC, plans to open Suffolk County's first dispensary in Riverhead. That proposal has received significant pushback from town officials and residents, who cite in part its proximity to a high school.

The town board is considering a yearlong moratorium on dispensaries in Riverhead.

Last week, the village of Islandia unanimously voted to amend its code to officially ban sales of medical marijuana.

Bosworth said in a release that she supported providing medical marijuana but that the company should find a more suitable location.

"It seems odd that a facility intended to serve severely ill residents from all over Nassau would be located on the westernmost area of the county, adjacent to Queens," Bosworth said.

Botwin said having this much discussion about a forthcoming application, which will go to the building department, likely within a few weeks, is "unusual."

"We haven't seen their plans, that's the problem," Botwin said. "We can't just decide in the abstract."


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