Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson shares updates at Community Board 1’s monthly meeting on May 30 at Lincoln Medical Center. By Christine Loughran.

South Bronx residents want to make sure law enforcement is keeping tabs on the status of cannabis dispensaries in the neighborhoods.

At a Community Board 1 meeting on May 30 at Lincoln Hospital, board members put New York City Sheriff Anthony Medina on the spot, asking for a precise count of dispensaries the city has shuttered for operating illegally in the South Bronx.

In addition, board members want to know how the city plans to spend the millions it is collecting in fines from unlicensed shop owners.

As part of a presentation Medina made to Board 1 about illegal dispensaries, the sheriff said 280 unlicensed cannabis dispensaries have been shut down across the five boroughs since early May, when Mayor Adams announced an aggressive plan to crack down on rogue shops.

Fifty-six of the unlicensed shops are in the Bronx, Medina said, in response to a question from a board member, but he was unable to specify the number of illegal dispensaries that were padlocked locally, saying his office would follow up. He added that residents should continue filing complaints about unlicensed shops through 311, as well as registering complaints with their elected officials, and noted that the Bronx County Sheriff’s office at 3033 3rd Avenue will take complaints.

More than $21 million in penalties have been issued since the crackdown launched, Medina added, and more than $10 million in illegal property has been seized citywide since then.

Ramona Ferreyra, a member of the board’s Public and Supportive Housing Committee, asked whether that money was being put back into the communities where the shops have been shut.

“I believe that your state legislators would be the ones to handle how that revenue is distributed, and the city legislators,” said Medina.

Ferreyra added that asking tough questions of law enforcement and government agencies is a crucial function of the board.

“The community board has historically been used as a revolving door,” she said. “Folks just came in, got what they wanted and left.”

Later in the meeting Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson addressed the audience to promote an initiative her office is spearheading, to create opportunities for prospective homebuyers.

“We want young adults and families to be prepared for the future,” she said. “We want to build homeownership opportunities so that you don’t have to be a tenant for life.”

Dalourny Nemorin, who chairs Board 1’s committee on policies, bylaws and legislation, echoed Ferreyra’s calls for more transparency from public officials.

“Who’s going to give us a down deposit?” Nemorin told the Herald after the meeting ended, saying the borough president’s plan seemed short on detail. “Is HUD getting more money? I want substantive rules. What’s going to happen next?”

In an email response, a spokesperson for the borough president’s office told the Herald that “Increasing homeownership opportunities for residents of the Bronx is a priority for our administration and is something the Borough President continues to advocate for in the borough.”

In other matters, Board 1 voted to approve liquor license renewals renew for Hudson Smoke House, at 37 Bruckner Boulevard; Beatstro, at 135 Alexander Avenue; and El Salvadoreño, at 619 Melrose Avenue, and voiced support for a new liquor license for Rey Tacos, Inc., 626 Melrose Avenue, because there were no negative reports from the police on the business about the venue.

Conversely, the board turned down a liquor license renewal for Mexicocina, at 503 Jackson Avenue because the owners did not attend a Board 1 meeting they were invited to. The board also opted not to recommend approval of an application for a new cannabis dispensary submitted by Marijuana and Cannabis Products, Inc.

In all cases, community boards’ votes are advisory and subject to a final decision by the State Liquor Authority.

Other business:

  • A community member urged voters to participate in the New York federal, state and local primary on June 25. Applications by mail must be received by a board of elections by June 15, and residents registering by mail must do so in person on that date.
  • A representative from the office of Rep. Ritchie Torres (D) reminded residents that the congressman’s territory in the South Bronx shifted this year due to statewide redistricting, and locals should enter their address into the website Who Represents Me? NYC to find out whether he represents them, or if they’re now represented by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes (D).
  • The board will distribute fruit and produce weekly every Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m., at 3024 Third Avenue.

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