Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Two marijuana shops set to open in Peekskill this summer

First in downtown is Valley Greens; Cloud 914 comes to Washington Street
Valley Greens owners received approval Tuesday for their cannabis dispensary at 939 Central Avenue below Wellness Central. (Photo by Jim Striebich)

It took several years of work, but in the course of three business days two Peekskill retail marijuana stores finally received the major approvals they need to open their doors a few weeks from now.

Both Cloud 914 and Valley Greens got their okays and are working feverishly to prepare their locations to start operations.

Valley Greens, planning to open at 939 Central Avenue near the Bruised Apple bookstore, already had their state license and on Tuesday night, May 14, secured their special permit from the City of Peekskill Planning Commission.

Valley Greens now needs approval of signage, lighting fixtures, and possibly revised window treatment and ramp material from the Historic and Landmarks Preservation Board, which meets on Thursday, May 23. Changes to the exterior (ramp to front door) were approved by the Board on March 28.

Rendering of the interior of the ’boutique’ Valley Greens dispensary.

“We feel great,” said Shane Jackson of Valley Greens. “With all the litigation that’s going on involving the state Office of Cannabis Management, and just getting cannabis sales started in New York state, to getting our license, and winning state approval, and getting city approval, it’s a great feeling.

“Once we get the sign off from the Historic Board we’re good to start building. We’re praying for an opening in late July to mid-August,” he said.

Valley Greens team at Tuesday night’s Planning Commission meeting where they received their special permit to open their dispensary. From left, Shane Jackson, Daniel Berte, architect Marco Mandra and  Stephen Bond.

The other company, Cloud 914, will operate at the current location of Nardone’s Furniture on Washington Street. Cloud 914 won their Peekskill special permit earlier this year, and received official word from New York state on Friday, May 10, that they were awarded a license.

Cloud 914 on Washington Street where the current Nardone’s Furniture Store is located, next to Dollar General.

Both companies faced a long and challenging pathway to get to this point. Drawing up business plans, raising capital, finding a location, signing a lease, hiring attorneys and winning state and city approvals turned out to be more cumbersome than expected, particularly because of long delays at the state level due to ongoing challenges to the process in several court cases.

The three partners heading Valley Greens are Daniel Berte, Stephen Bond and Shane Jackson. They thought they had a location secured at 638 Central Ave. last August, but had to find another spot when the landlord there withdrew the offer to Valley Greens.

Heading the Cloud 914 business are Chris Calabrese, Kyle Knapp and Kyle’s wife Kim. ” We are very excited,” Calabrese said. “It’s been a two-year process for us and there’s been a lot of ups and downs because the [state] goal posts keep changing, but we’re now where we wanted to be.”

Calabrese expects to open the doors to customers at Cloud 914 sometime in July after the build out of the space is finished and the state onsite inspectors give the final okay.

Knapp and Calabrese expected all along to have some competition. “We always figured we are not going to be the only ones, that there could be one or two others in Peekskill,” Calabrese said.

The owners of Nardone’s Furniture are planning a “Retirement Furniture Sale, Everything Must Go” event at a date to be announced shortly.

Third contender left at the starting gate

The company that seemed at one time to be the leading bet to open a marijuana store in Peekskill first now faces an uncertain fate.

Gracious Greens, which planned to operate a store at 32 N. Division St., was first to get a special permit from Peekskill. But Gracious Greens, further down on the state pending application list then the others were, still doesn’t have a state license.

The two partners behind Gracious Greens, Michael Ruttenber and Stephen Van Ostrand, both U.S. Marine Corps veterans, discovered that by state law they won’t be able to operate at 32 N. Division St. when they get a state license because they are within 1,000 feet of an already-approved location, Valley Greens at 939 Central Ave.

The attorney representing Gracious Greens, Andrew Shriever with the Boston-based firm Prince Lobel, filed a lawsuit against the state challenging the law restricting locations for stores.

In a last-minute legal move to try and stop Valley Greens from getting their special permit on Tuesday, Shriever sought and failed to get an emergency temporary restraining order from the court late on Friday, May 10.

In response to complaints that some applicants were told after they applied that other sites would block them out, applicants including Gracious Greens will most likely get their state license but they will have to find a new location in Peekskill.

The Town of Cortlandt will play host to the first local area marijuana retail store in June when Kings House of Fire opens at 3006 East Main Street in Cortlandt Manor, between Kohl’s Department store and a NAPA auto parts business.

Legal sales aims at bringing tax revenue

While more new state-licensed stores are beginning to open throughout New York, the battle to close down illegal stores is off to a slow start.

State inspectors tagged three Peekskill stores in late March, alleging that they were selling marijuana without a license. But the state lacks the manpower to tackle the issue and local authorities lack the enforcement power to solve the problem.

Licensed stores will charge a 13 percent sales tax, 9 percent going to the state and 4 percent to local government. The state revenue will be divided three ways: 40 percent to support education spending, 40 percent to community grants and 20 percent for drug treatment and public education and prevention programs.

Local tax revenue will be divided between the city and county where it’s collected and local governments will decide how to spend the money. A projection by Syracuse University determined legal marijuana sales in New York could generate nearly $500 million annually in tax revenue.








About the Contributor
Jim Roberts
Jim Roberts has been in this business for more than 35 years (hard to believe) and still learning every day. A third-generation Peekskill resident, he started as a lowly researcher at the Westchester Business Journal in 1986 and learned how to be a reporter from many veterans in the field. He’s worked in private companies, Connecticut state government and wrote for the Co-op City Times for 10 years before retiring from full-time work in 2019. Roberts wants to contribute to building the Herald into a news website for residents who care about what’s happening in Peekskill.