Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis wins Lawsuit Against Hoboken Planning Board and Blue Violets Cannabis Dispensary
County Court Judge rules Blue Violets application violates local ordinance protecting schools; Hoboken Planning Board approval illegal.
Hoboken, NJ (September 26, 2023). Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis, a non-profit founded to ensure the proper implementation and regulation of Hoboken’s cannabis industry, won a lawsuit in Hudson County Superior Court against the City of Hoboken Planning Board and Blue Violets. HRC successfully argued that the Planning Board did not have jurisdiction to review the application for the Blue Violets dispensary which violates Hoboken’s Commonsense Cannabis ordinances.
The Commonsense Cannabis ordinance that went into effect on April 28th, 2022, prohibited cannabis dispensaries from being within 600 feet of primary and secondary schools. Blue Violets dispensary located at 628 Washington Street, is just over 200 feet from both Hoboken Charter School and All Saints Episcopal Day School which combined educate approximately 300 Hoboken students. Blue Violets did not submit a complete application to the Hoboken Planning Board until after the Commonsense Cannabis ordinance went into effect therefore must obtain a variance from the Zoning Board to operate in that location.
“The law and the facts were on our side, and I am happy the judge agreed.” says Liz Urtecho, a founding member of Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis and Candidate for Hoboken City Council 5th Ward. “The dispensary is too close to the school – breaking our local ordinance, but when we brought it up to the city, the planning board, and our local representatives, they would not listen to us. It didn’t have to get this far; if the residents’ voices had only been heard from the beginning.”
“The City Council has the responsibility to consider and represent all stakeholder interests,” says Jeff Tennenbaum, a board member of Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis and parent of a Hoboken Charter School student. “They should have opposed the Blue Violets application from the beginning given it violated the 600-foot boundary ordinance that they themselves approved to protect kids. They had complete discretion to do so but instead downplayed all concerns raised and forced residents to move forward with this litigation.”
“I think I speak for the whole board of HRC when I say we are happy with the outcome,” says Francis Dixon, board member of Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis. “As a parent to a child in a daycare within 400 feet of the proposed dispensary, I had a personal stake in seeing our
Commonsense ordinances were adhered to. I am a staunch advocate for cannabis legalization (particularly the social justice encompassed within it), and I hope that the City can work with Blue Violets to find them a location that follows our local laws.”
“The City Council should have opposed the Blue Violets application from the beginning given it violated the 600-foot boundary ordinance that they approved,” says Matt Natale, a board member of Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis. “Members of the community should not have to go to court to get the city to abide by the rules that the city made themselves.”
Hoboken for Responsible Cannabis, Inc. (HRC) is a non-profit corporation with a registered address in Hoboken, NJ.