Kosher Marijuana ?

It seems that chasidim are trying to get into the medical marijuana business.

According to Saugerties Town Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel, two of the principals behind NY Growing Partners, LLC are nursing home magnate and Ger chasid Michael Melnicke and Leo Friedman, the son of Satmar powerbroker Moses Friedman, otherwise known as Moshe Gabbai.

The company is one of 43 that submitted an application earlier this month to the New York State Department of Health to become one of five registered organizations to manufacture and dispense approved medical marijuana products in the state. The other two principals in NY Growing Partners are Alexander Solovey and Pat (Pasquale) DeBenedictis.

NY Growing Partners has set its sights on a 12-acre, “shovel-ready” property in upstate Saugerties, about 90 miles from New York, which it plans to use as a manufacturing facility should it be granted a license, according to Helsmoortel. (The term “shovel ready” means that the required preliminary impact studies have already been completed, streamlining the approval process.)

Applicants for the licenses were required to pay a $10,000 application free as well as a $200,000 registration fee, the latter of which will be returned to those not chosen. Criteria for consideration include the ability to manufacture medical grade marijuana in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of certified patients and being in possession of — or having secured the right to use — property, buildings and equipment to carry out production operations or, failing that, posting a $2 million bond.

A recent story in the Daily Freeman News noted that NY Growing Partners has not submitted a formal proposal or site plan and will do so only if it receives a license; at that point, Helsmoortel confirmed, it intends to work with the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency to fast-track the local approval process.

Melnicke, Friedman, Solovey and DeBenedictis have been partners in other ventures. A 2014 article in Crain’s notes that The Komanoff Center for Geriatric and Rehabilitative Medicine in Long Beach, L.I., was sold separately to two entities formed by the four men.

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