New Paltz Town Council members have agreed to write a letter in support of a proposed cannabis dispensary. The framework for opening such a business is still being put into place, but that machinery was set in motion when the governor legalized cannabis for non-medical use earlier this year. Licenses will be issued via a state agency that does not yet exist, but it’s understood that for the first round of applications, support from local lawmakers is expected. That’s because the new state law specifically leaves room to outlaw dispensaries by local ordinance.
Supervisor Neil Bettez explained that the request to sanction Farmer’s Choice comes from lifelong town residents, and pointed out that no consumption of the product would occur at the site. The location is on Old Route 299, and most patrons would likely have to access it by motor vehicle. The outskirts of a town is traditionally where businesses are sited when they are aesthetically displeasing: industrial sites, mechanics, strip clubs and manufacturing facilities associated with a high degree of noise or other emissions are among the businesses often zoned in those areas. However, this is within the relatively new gateway zoning that’s intended to create more of a village-like, downtown feel closer to the Thruway.
Bettez acknowledged that banning dispensaries is within the purview of the town council, but added, “I don’t think there’s an appetite for that here in New Paltz.” The licensing process, which is designed to favor members of groups that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, is not expected to create more than one or two dispensaries in the county initially.
Council members unanimously approved sending this letter of support.