Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mining Company Could Grow First Legal Adirondack Pot

1576 p. 01 Gordon medical marijuana, Peckham Chestertown, Andy Darnley Nationwide Elevator, Dunham Railroads end of line.inddA 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.

marijuana in minervaIf 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.

The Adirondacks has long been home to considerable pot growing operations, large aerial surveillance law enforcement operations, and prison cells for those convicted of marijuana crimes.

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.

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John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for more than 45 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John's Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on North Country Public Radio and on WSLP Lake Placid.

He is also on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute and edits The New York History Blog. He is the author of two books of regional history.




6 Responses

  1. Charlie S says:

    “Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that he does not favor legalizing recreational marijuana for adults in New York.”

    Yet we’re allowed to ingest as many pharmaceuticals as can possibly be dispensed by the drug companies…pharmaceuticals which have proven to kill and impair by the thousands across this country every year.Pharmaceuticals that do more than impair and kill,they also make people goofy and do crazy things.
    The 19 year old girl who killed her 5 year old cousin recently in Albany County ..she was on prescription drugs.How about that monkey that attacked and grossly disfigured that woman in Connecticut some few years ago! That monkey’s owner gave it xanax just prior to this horrific event.A coincidence? I think not. That lady has no eyes,no mouth,no ears…. The list is very very long on the harmful effects of pharmaceuticals,not just in medical matters but in criminal cases also. The fruitcake who killed all of those beautiful children in Newtown was on prescription drugs!

    Marijuana…a plant from the mother the earth.Against the law! It makes no sense. Neither does Cuomo.

  2. Jim S. says:

    It makes sense to legalize medical marijuana, it should have been done years ago. I like the fact that the proposal generated considerable buzz among supporters.

  3. Charlie S says:

    Why just medical marijuana Jim where you have to have a prescription like all other pharmaceuticals? Why dont they just get it over with and do like Colorado did…open dispensaries so that the general public can step in and choose their flavor? Why put it off?
    I know at least two people that are dead because they drove into black neighborhoods to cop weed and were shot by low iq poor blacks…another effect of its illegality.And there’s been cases where people hung themselves in jail cells after being incarcerated for simply possessing the killer ‘Weed.’ And just think of all the problems in Mexico over the years because of drug cartels who only exist because drugs are illegal.

    I’ve had at least two police officers tell me that they know it’s not the weed causing all of the problems it’s the other drugs and alcohol.
    I did work for an assistant DA once who told me it’s only a matter of time before they legalize drugs in this country.He said it was very common for interns to be smoking weed and doing coke. That generation of lawyers is upon us now and maybe this is why we’re seeing marijuana laws being relaxed.Maybe it’s also because they know it’s a harmless plant. In the meanwhile who can say they know somebody who has died from smoking weed? Or got into a car accident and killed others while having a THC level of .16?

  4. Ed Zahniser says:

    The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Jan 16, 2012, by Michelle Alexander is an excellent study of the injustices of the crazed war on cannabis begun in the 1930s. With so many prisons now privatized, there is no incentive within the system to NOT lock up as many people as possible. In many cases, if occupancy rates fall below a set level, the contracting government level must pay a subsidy to the privatized prison! “Reefer Madness” has a whole new meaning now than it did when the propaganda film was done to launch the anti-cannabis campaign.

  5. Hawthorn says:

    I am for legalization, but lets not pretend that marijuana is totally safe. Like all drugs, including alcohol, there is a potential for abuse and destructive behavior, but criminalization has definitely not worked just like prohibition didn’t work. Smoking anything is terrible for your lungs and body, so just the purely physical health effects are negative for most people. So, legalize it, tax it, and spend the money on healthcare so that those who need it can get it.

  6. Marco says:

    Prohibition, regulation, and deprivation are still with us. It is stupid to ride a motor cycle without a helmet, but the state has no business telling me I MUST have one on. Perhaps someday in a free state that allows freedom of choice? Not today, and not in NY.