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Jersey City sued for allegedly steering cannabis license to Jim McGreevey-tied firm

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A licensed cannabis operator has sued Jersey City, claiming officials there illegally awarded a license to a rival weed store with business ties to ex-New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, who recently announced a comeback bid to become Jersey City mayor.

The Cannabis Place, which also runs a Queens-based licensed marijuana delivery service in New York, was awarded a license to operate at 1544 Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City in September 2022.

Then last month, the Jersey City Council approved a license for Kushmart to operate across the street at 1521 Kennedy Boulevard, violating a prohibition against pot stores being located within 600 feet of each other, the suit says.

Under state law, applicants must have a “community partner” in order to obtain a cannabis license.

Kushmart’s community partner on the project is NJ Reentry Corporation, whose executive director and chairman is Jim McGreevey.

His group helps train and find jobs for ex-convicts — including at budding cannabis shops after New Jersey legalized the sale of recreational weed in April 2022.

Aside from working on training and employing formerly incarcerated individuals, Kushmart is required to “donate” 1 percent of its net profits to McGreevey’s NJ Reentry Corp., according to a May 2022 memorandum of understanding signed by McGreevey and Kushmart’s Mindy Ok.

“I find it interesting how current mayoral candidate for Jersey City Jim McGreevey serves as a community partner for an organization seeking a license from the same city. To me, it screams conflict of interest. I don’t believe in coincidences,” The Cannabis Place CEO Osbert Orduna told The Post.

Orduna said having the McGreevey-linked licensed pot shop located about 340 feet from his store would cannibalize his business.

Democrat McGreevey, 66, announced his comeback bid for Jersey City mayor earlier this month after being out of politics for nearly 20 years.

He resigned as the Garden State governor in 2004 after coming clean about a secret extramarital affair with a male staffer who was his homeland security adviser.

The former governor’s opportunity to re-enter politics opened in April, when his hometown mayor, Steven Fulop, announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election in Jersey City and would instead run to replace term-limited Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy in 2025.

But McGreevey, in a Post interview Sunday, insisted that he had absolutely no role in Jersey City officials awarding a contract to Kushmart.

“This claim is without merit,” he said.

“Our only interest is providing employment and financial support for court-involved persons. We have no financial interest in the license,” McGreevey said.

He said NJ Reentry has numerous community partnerships with companies and industries throughout the Garden State — including in its nascent cannabis sector — to help ex-convicts re-enter the workforce.

McGreevey claimed there’s no conflict of interest that the firm he heads is a community partner with a company that sought a cannabis license, Kushmart.

He said there’s no conflict — unless he’s elected mayor and “that’s a few years away.”

The Jersey City mayor’s race takes place in 2025.

The Cannabis Place filed its case in New Jersey Superior Court, Hudson County.

It names Kushmart as well as Jersey City as defendants. Kushmart operates a cannabis store in Everett, Wash.

Neither the Jersey City mayor or Kushmart responded to queries for comment.


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