Up in smoke: Sunset Park marijuana dispensary snubbed, state officials say • Brooklyn Paper

Up in smoke: Sunset Park marijuana dispensary snubbed, state officials say

Gone to pot: Sunset Park probably won't become home to Brooklyn's first state-licensed pot dispensary, according to state officials.
Associated Press / Haven Daley

Talk about a pipe dream.

Members of Community Board 7 voted 27-3-9 on Feb. 15 to support Napenthea LLC’s quest to score a state-issued license to sell medical marijuana in Sunset Park, but Albany is not considering the company for one of the five new permits it will hand out this summer, because the company did not rank high enough in the Department of Health’s evaluation, according to a rep from the state.

“Nepenthea LLC is not one of the applicants that the department has reached out to and is not currently being considered for a license to manufacture or dispense medical marijuana,” said state Department of Health spokeswoman Jill Montag.

That didn’t stop the company’s chief operating officer from making his pitch to Community Board 7, though — as far as he knows, Napenthea is still in the running.

“I’m not aware of that. I have no communication that states that,” said Christopher Etts. “We were told that we could put in an updated application with new locations because of the five new licensees. I can’t speak for the Department of Health. I can’t assume what the [Department of Health’s] process is. That’s all I can say.”

In 2015, the state evaluated Napenthea and 42 other companies licenses that would allow them to sell doctor-prescribed ‘dro, according to state records. The agency reviewed each application and scored the companies out of 125 points based on a variety of factors including financial standing, geographic distribution, and product manufacturing, according to the Department of Health’s website.

The top-five ranked companies scored 90–97 points and nabbed one of the five coveted pot permits in July 2015. Now the state is issuing five more licenses and is reaching out to the next-five highest scoring applicants, according to Montag. But Nepenthea is nowhere near the next batch of companies the state is considering — it scored 71.35 and is ranked 34 out of the 43 applicants.

Sunset Park would have been home to Brooklyn’s first medical marijuana joint if Napenthea managed to snag a license. The shop would have sold liquids and oils for vaporization, as well as oral capsules, but not smokable or edible versions of cannabis, which is still federally illegal in all forms, according to Etts, who visited Community Board 7’s health committee on Jan. 30 and was present during the general board meeting on Feb. 16 to explain the company’s plans.

The state isn’t currently considering Nepenthea, but the company could be eligible for a license years from now, officials said.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.

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