HUNTS POINT — A Bronx businessman says he plans to move his company out of Hunts Point if a medical marijuana facility moves in next to his store as planned.
Gary Jacobs serves as the president and CEO of F&F Supply, a provider of building maintenance products at 1260 Oak Point Ave., next door to a space where a medical marijuana facility is supposed to open early next year.
But Jacobs doesn't plan to stay to see the day a dispensary opens at 1280 Oak Point, he said.
"Putting a medical marijuana dispensary in here when it should be near a hospital, to me, is not the way things should be done," he said. "You’ve got good people on the community board who have worked hard to get rid of the strip clubs, the drugs and all that’s been part of what’s going on here, and now it's going to be taken away by a medical marijuana dispensary."
"I'm already planning to move if it rears its ugly head," Jacobs continued.
F&F Supply employs 35 people, most of whom are from The Bronx, according to Jacobs. He said he would likely head outside of the city to an area like southern Westchester if the marijuana dispensary comes, citing safety concerns for his employees and for the neighborhood.
He stressed that he was not concerned about patients who would use the dispensary because they have a legitimate need for medical marijuana and acknowledged that the facility was going to help a lot of people.
Rather, he worried that patients at the Hunts Point location would become frequent targets for robberies and crimes.
"What about the vagrants and the people who are going to be hanging around so they can bop somebody on the head so they can get their medical marijuana?" he asked.
State officials announced in July that four medical marijuana dispensaries and one growing facility would open in New York City early next year, including two in Queens and two in Manhattan.
Jacobs maintained that the only reason Hunts Point was chosen as one of the sites was because officials did not think the community would care enough to show any resistance towards the idea.
"If this was a more affluent area, it would never be passed," he said. "It would never get in here."
However, he would much rather it be closer to a more populated area of the neighborhood as opposed to so far out and far away from public transportation.
"It opens up this situation where that person will potentially be victimized," he said. "And that’s what we’re trying to avoid. We’re trying to minimize criminality."
PharmaCannis would operate the facility in Hunts Point, and CEO Teddy Scott defended the site as being in a safe location precisely because it was not in a particularly crowded part of the city.
"It’s much more open than you'd find quite often in a dense urban environment," he said, "so it gives you good sight lines. If there is trouble, it’s easier to see."
The operator plans to meet with local businesses about the dispensary in the near future and maintained that resistance to medical marijuana facilities tends to dissipate once people learn more about what they actually are, Scott said.
"They’re expecting a head shop, and that’s not what this is," he said. "This is truly a medical facility for very sick people."