Councilwoman attempts to rally opposition to Hoboken dispensary site with links to Jersey City mayor, wife

Hoboken’s now infamous Story Dispensary has made quite a name for itself all before even reaching the Hoboken Planning Board.

Not ringing a bell? It’s the one whose landlord is linked to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and his wife and has prompted a wave of “not in my backyard” outcries and a series of reforms to Hoboken’s cannabis laws that will make it harder to open a dispensary here.

On Thursday it will become the first recreational dispensary reviewed by the Hoboken’s Planning Board.

On Monday a councilwoman who is dead-set against the proposed Story location said the Fulops may benefit from some changes in Hoboken zoning laws related to the property where the dispensary would be located the former Hudson Tavern at 51-53 14th Street.

The ground-floor unit is owned an LLC registered to Drew Nussbaum, treasurer of the well-funded, Fulop-linked super PAC Coalition for Progress, and he’s also a business partner of Jaclyn Fulop.

Nussbaum and Jaclyn Fulop are co-owners of the chain of Exchange Place Physical Therapy facilities, and according to a lawsuit, they executed the $1.8 million mortgage on the Hoboken property.

Hoboken Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher pointed out the connections to residents in a newsletter this week as she is attempting to mobilize a coalition of them to attend the planning board meeting in opposition to the application.

She’s calling it, in bolded, all capital red text, a “A #MOREVOICESARENECESSARY MOMENT.”

A campaign for Mayor Fulop called claims in her newsletter is misleading and said, “This location is totally consistent with both the plan she initially supported and with the will of Hoboken voters, who overwhelmingly supported marijuana legalization.”

Much of the political action committee’s funds have come from recent contributions from Jersey City developers, plus a handy $150,000 from Fulop’s campaign fund in March. It recently became involved in an election in Hillside, according to the New Jersey Globe, and with a ramp-up in fundraising may be connected to a rumored 2025 gubernatorial run for Fulop.

Meanwhile, the dispensary has become the jumping-off point for conversations about to what extent the cannabis industry should exist in Hoboken.

The condominium owners in the building that would house Story Dispensary on 14th and Hudson Streets have made it abundantly clear that they don’t want one there via a petition, comments at public meetings and even a lawsuit. In the lawsuit they claim Fulop, the mayor, attended the showing of the property.

“Last summer, less than one week after Mayor Fulop visited the Hudson Tavern location and asked the seller to take it off the market, Mayor (Ravi) Bhalla’s administration added the C-3 (commercial) zone (which includes 14th and Hudson) into our ordinance as a permissible area for dispensaries for the first time, and with no warning to the public or the City Council,” Fisher said in her newsletter.

Earlier this year, the city council voted to carve out cannabis businesses from the C-3 zones — which are meant to spur business activity — and restrict the distance between recreation marijuana shop and schools, but the Story Dispensary had already been approved.

Last week, the city council expanded the Cannabis Review Board to include four resident members, but again, the Story Dispensary already made it through that board will have full approval from the three current members: Hoboken’s business administrator, its Director of Health and Human Services and Councilmember Michael Russo.

Fisher, meanwhile, has simultaneously been waging a targeted attack on Story Dispensary, which would be located in her ward. She has called for its application to be withdrawn, has sent community newsletters about it and this week is holding a meeting to prep a coalition of supporters for Thursday’s planning board meeting.

Bhalla’s and Rob Horowitz said Fish “is baselessly attacking Mayor Bhalla yet again to deflect attention from the fact she voted for the legislation that permitted cannabis within the business district at 14th and Hu’s streets while simultaneously ensuring that the area adjacent to her own home would be excluded.”

Fisher has never denied that she voted for the legislation that could allow dispensaries in her ward, but has said it’s a vote she regrets.

She is now asking residents to email both Fulop and Bhalla in opposition to Story Dispensary and also attend Thursday’s meeting.

“We need to fill the room and give the planning board everything they need to turn this application down,” she said in her newsletter.

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