The Real Deal New York

Durst Organization bids for marijuana growing license

Partnership between the developer and a nonprofit is vying for one of five slots

June 11, 2015 08:30AM

Douglas Durst and marijuana

Douglas Durst and marijuana

UPDATED, June 11, 9:37 a.m.: In a surprise move, the Durst Organization is partnering with nonprofit trade group the Greater New York Hospital Association in a bid to become one of five licensed medical marijuana growers in New York state.

The application process for companies to fill five slots to legally grow and sell marijuana in the state closed last week. One applicant was Compassionate Sunset LLC, a partnership between the Durst Organization and the hospital association’s for-profit subsidiary, GNYHA Ventures, Inc., Capital New York reported.

GNYHA is a trade group that represents downstate area hospitals and reportedly has a close working relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states but, until recently, many major hospital institutions have avoided getting involved in the distribution, as the drug is still listed as a Schedule 1 substance by the Food and Drug Administration.

However, in the 2013 Cole Memorandum, the federal government effectively vowed to let states that have legalized marijuana to police themselves on the issue.

Douglas Durst, chair of the Durst Organization, was the subject of media attention earlier this year when he took legal action to find out how the director of an HBO docu-series about his suspected murderer brother, Robert Durst, obtained certain film footage. In April, Douglas dropped his action.

Another bidder for a marijuana growing license, PalliaTech, signed a lease for a storefront in Downtown Brooklyn last week. The Real Deal reported that some landlords might be skittish about these types of tenants. [Capital NY] — Tess Hofmann

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the aim of Douglas Durst’s lawsuit.