Sunset medical marijuana facility fails to receive Department of Health license

It’s another strikeout in the attempt to bring a medical marijuana dispensary to Sunset Park.

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has decided not to issue a license to Nepenthea LLC, which would have been the neighborhood’s first such facility, despite community support for it.

“Pursuant to the recommendation of the Medical Marijuana Program to register five additional organizations over the next two years to better serve patients throughout New York State, the department has contacted the next five highest-scoring organizations,” NYSDOH told this paper in a statement, naming New York Canna, Inc., Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Valley Agriceuticals, LLC, Citiva Medical LLC, and PalliaTech NY, LLC. as the organizations with the best scores. “The department is undertaking a phased-in approach to ensure their smooth integration into the industry. The approach includes performing due diligence, verifying their current financial stability and capitalization, and ensuring their overall suitability to participate in the Medical Marijuana Program in a manner that promotes public health and protects public safety. No other organizations or entities are currently under consideration.”

During its monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 15, Community Board 7  had voted in favor of Nepenthea’s application with 27 in favor, three against, and nine abstentions. The company would have set up shop at 4614 Fifth Avenue. 

Back in 2014, NYSDOH selected the first five applicants which opened their facilities in 2015. It then made the announcement that it would be expanding the program through an additional five licenses, one of which Nepenthea’s COO Christopher Epps was hoping to receive.

The proposal by Nepenthea included an emphasis on security, with Epps stressing to the board during his presentation how effective it would be for patients in need of treatment.

We will only be dispensing medical marijuana products,” he said while presenting the plans. “Most of these products won’t get you high. The amount of security will be absolutely incredible. We’re going to have cameras and card readers, and people that are enrolled in the program will have a medical marijuana card or their caregiver will have one to receive the medical marijuana. No one is allowed in the dispensary  except for employees and somebody with a medical marijuana card.”

This isn’t the first time Sunset has been shut out of a medical marijuana facility. Back in 2015, Mindful Medical applied to open a medical marijuana facility at 800 Third Avenue. However, despite support from CB 7, it also failed to receive a license.


According to NYSDOH, there are five companies in New York State currently licensed to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana — PharmaCann, Vireo Health of New York, Etain, Columbia Care and Bloomfield Industries.

At the time of press, Epps was unavailable for comment.

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