Empire State Health Solutions is opening a medical marijuana facility in Elmhurst in 2016.View Full Caption
ELMHURST - The borough's first medical marijuana dispensary will open next year in a commercial building on Queens Boulevard, the owners said.
Empire State Health Solutions was one of five companies given permission to grow and distribute medical marijuana beginning in2016 by the state Department of Health.
It will be growing the marijuana in Fulton County but distributing it across the state, including inside an "open and clean" office at 89-55 Queens Blvd., the only center in the borough. It's across the street from the busyQueens Center Mall.
Kyle Kingsley, MD, founder and CEO of Empire State Health Solutions, said the location will most likely be opened as soon as they legally can, on Jan. 1, 2016.
They have experience with similar centers in Minnesota. It helped them with the application process in New York, which took more than a year, Kingsley said.
"Because of our experience in Minnesota we knew what to do to apply and we knew how to implement and execute," he said. "If you haven't operated in that system before, it'd be hard to execute in New York."
The two states have similar laws regulating medical marijuana - different from some west coast states with broader limits he called "the wild west."
The future site - in a building that includes a Casual Male XL and AT&T shops and a tattoo parlor - won't resemble head shops and other stores that hawk marijuana paraphernalia.
"This is a medical building. It's a mix between a pharmacy and a doctor's office," he said. "It's open and clean. It's going to reassure the public and patients. It's the air of legitimacy."
Elsewhere in Queens, Bloomfield Industries Inc. will grow medical marijuana inside a warehouse in Long Island City, but distribute it in Manhattan, according to the state's health department.