In response to an increasing number of questions, town officials are seeking a public meeting and more information about a medical marijuana growing operation proposed for Kings Highway, just south of the Army Reserve Center.
Deputy Supervisor Fred Costello attempted to provide the few answers available as he filled in for Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel at the May 20 Town Board meeting.
“We as a board do not know very much about it yet,” he said. “It’s our understanding that they’re from Colorado. If they were to locate here, it would be an indoor grow. They would be responsible for their own security on-site.”
Helsmoortel has asked “a number of times” for a public forum so that the company can explain its plans.
“This new group has not indicated that they would do that yet,” said Costello. “They also have not declined.”
Addressing the board, Conservative Party Vice Chair and former supervisor candidate Gaetana Ciarlante said more information was needed.
“A couple of us went online to find out about it and there’s absolutely nothing listed except for [Helsmoortel’s] quote about it,” she said. “Certainly if we have something like that coming into town, we should know an awful lot about it.”
Another company, Canna Care LLC, had planned to set up an operation elsewhere and the town had scheduled a public hearing several weeks ago before pulling the plug.
Costello said New York Growing Partners has not asked for any tax relief such as a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT.
“They are saying that they are offering 100 job positions, but we don’t know the nature
or the quality of those jobs at this time,” Costello said. “It’s very early in the process. We have questions like many of the residents. As it moves forward, we will share any information as it becomes available to us.”
The company is one of hundreds applying for five state licenses. Each licensee can operate up to five dispensaries but marijuana cannot be sold in the form that is smoked. It must be in a pill form that is ingested or in an oil form that is converted into a vapor and inhaled.
Purchase will only be available for those diagnosed with specific diseases including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington’s disease.