By Angelica Acevedo
Community Board 5 held a meeting last week with avid discussions on issues ranging from the opening of a coffee shop serving cannabidiol-infused drink to the installation of soccer fields that would replace basketball courts.
CB5, one of Queens’ only community boards to meet during the summer, held its meeting July 12 at Christ the King High School in Middle Village.
During the public forum, the most attention-grabbing subject was a controversial offering of the Flower Power Coffee House, which is scheduled to open in Glendale in August or September. Leighton Knowles, the chef and part-owner of the unusual coffee spot, responded to the concerns raised by a resident who spoke before him over the CBD-infused drinks he will serve and the packets of coffee he will sell called DeezCBDCoffee.
Knowles insisted that using CBD in food is legal in New York.
CBD is a component extracted from marijuana, which, unlike the more commonly known THC, is non-psychoactive and is being studied by medical researchers, as it has proven to be effective in treating seizures and reducing anxiety, among remedies. DeezCBDCoffee is a Colorado-based company that launched last year and creates CBD-infused coffee and tea.
When one of the board members’ asked him why he wants to add CBD to the drinks in the first place, he replied that on top of the beneficial properties it has, he wants to “bring something good to the neighborhood.”
“We’re going to do events in the evenings, and the idea is to build the community,” Knowles said.
CB5 ChairmanVincent Arcuri Jr. said the board has reached out to the city Department of Health, NYPD and city Law Department about the legality of using CBD in food and were told that the agencies were looking into it.
“You understand we’re on the edge of something here that’s never been done,” Arcuri said. “So it’s very interesting and I think we need to pay attention to it seriously because this could be the beginning of a whole new industry.”
According to the Law Department spokeswoman Meryl Holt, however, marijuana extracts are illegal. Additionally, although medical marijuana is legal in the state of New York as of 2014, the use of CBD in food is still considered a legal gray area, as there are no specific laws dedicated to the use of CBD in food as of yet.
Another topic that proved controversial was brought up by Parks and Recreation Services Committee Chairman Steven Fiedler, who spoke about the installation of a soccer field in Rosemary’s Playground as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NYC Soccer Initiative.
“These soccer fields are not what you know as soccer fields. They are the size of a basketball court, they’re very big in Europe and in Australia, and they want to move this into this country,” Fiedler said.
He explained that the soccer field would replace the existing basketball courts at Rosemary’s Playground, which the Parks Committee was not in favor of.
He said the new plan would leave the park with four basketball hoops, less than half of what originally was an eight hoops and two full courts park. According to Fiedler, after asking if the city officials would be open to moving it to another location, perhaps the Highland Park, they didn’t budge.
“With soccer, you can bring the plastic goals and play soccer wherever you want, but if you don’t have the hoops, you can’t play the game,” Fiedler said.
Some community board members then brought up the changing demographics in the are with some residents perhaps wanting a soccer field. However, in the end, the majority voted to disapprove of the soccer field in Rosemary’s Playground.
State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) gave some updates, including progress on his legislation that passed the Senate and Assembly, which will require chain pharmacies to collect unused, unwanted or expired controlled substances from the public; as well as upcoming events he will be hosting, such as a job fair in October.