A mining company in Chestertown wants to be the first to grow legal marijuana in the Adirondack Park. Etain, a subsidiary of Peckham Industries, wants to use property on Route 9 just south of the village for a medical marijuana growing facility. A portion of the property is currently used as a log yard.
The proposal has won unanimous support from the Chester Town Board and considerable buzz among supporters. “It’s a product that would benefit patients in need,” Town Supervisor and Adirondack Local Government Review Board Executive Director Fred Monroe told the Post Star. Monroe said that it would provide jobs and offer a tax benefit to Warren County. A front page story in the Glens Falls Chronicle by news editor Gordon Woodworth proclaimed “Medical marijuana helped me”.
There are dozens, some media reports say hundreds, of permit applications to grow marijuana being prepared, but only five permits can be issued statewide under 2014’s Compassionate Care Act. The state law requires a $10,000 application fee and a $200,000 permit fee. Companies seeking to grow marijuana in Plattsburgh and Washington County have also seen support from local politicians.
If Etain is awarded one of the permits, the Adirondacks’ first batch of the legally grown weed could be available to those suffering from “severe, debilitating or life-threatening conditions” in the spring of 2016. Etain representatives have told local media that 20 to 30 jobs could be created at the facility immediately, growing and processing marijuana under tight security. If awarded a permit, Etain could also open four dispensaries.
New York was the 23rd state in the union to enact a law allowing a medical marijuana industry, but Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that he does not favor legalizing recreational marijuana for adults in New York.
Three states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Bills to legalize marijuana are now moving through legislatures across the United States, including in Pennsylvania and Vermont, where Governor Peter Shumlin says he supports legalization.
Each year an estimated 30 million people use marijuana for recreational and medical purposes; tens of thousands are imprisoned for marijuana crimes. Last month a Malone man was sentenced to 14 years in Federal prison for smuggling pot into New York State from the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation.
Photo: A front-and-center story at The Chronicle by Gordon Woodworth; and below, an aerial photo taken by State Police of some of the 1,900 plants police discovered growing in a boggy area north of Irishtown, in the Essex County town of Minerva, in 2008. The cannabis is the shrubby emerald green growth on the open bog.