Legal Adirondack weed is one step closer to reality today after New York State announced that a new Town of Chester company is one of five to receive licenses to grow and distribute medical marijuana.
Etain LLC, and offshoot of Peckham Industries involving Amy Peckham and her daughters Kelley and Hillary Peckham, is expected to build a growing facility on Route 9 South of Chestertown across from the Peckham mine. The company was one of 48 that applied for the licenses.
The Chester Town Board has been supportive of the planned facility. Hillary Peckham told the Board in March that her grandmother has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), one of the medical conditions treatable with marijuana under state law. Town Supervisor Fred Monroe, who also serves as the Executive Director of the Local Government Review Board and has a non-voting seat on the Adirondack Park Agency Board, told a reporter at the time: “I think it could be good for the area. It’s a good number of jobs and medical marijuana makes sense.” The facility is expected to support 25 to 30 jobs according to Hillary Peckham.
Other companies awarded licenses include Bloomfield Industries Inc., Columbia Care NY LLC, Empire Health Solutions, and PharmaCann LLC. Each company can open four dispensaries to sell up to 30-day supplies of marijuana pills, oils, or tinctures. Syracuse.com is reporting that one of Etain’s dispensaries will be in Onondaga County. Columbia Care NY is expected to open a dispensary in Clinton County.
New York State is one of the most restrictive of the 23 states and the District of Columbia with medical marijuana programs. Four states and the District of Columbia now allow for the recreational use of marijuana as well.
State residents, or patients being treated in New York State, will be allowed to obtain a doctor’s certification to treat only the following medical conditions: ALS, cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Huntington’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, neuropathies, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord tissue damage. The NYS Department of Health is authorized to add other medical conditions the the current list. Medical marijuana users will also have to apply for a registry ID, which costs $50 (a financial hardship waiver is available).
On Monday, Vermont advocates met with State Senator Jeanette White to discuss legislation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. White promised to put a bill forward in 2016. A recent poll found 54% of Vermonter supported legalization, 40% opposed and 6% had no opinion. In April two Vermont legislators proposed a bill outlawing alcohol to highlight the double standard being applied to the two drugs.
On Tuesday, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg told the press his agents were not prioritizing enforcement of marijuana laws. “Do I think it’s as dangerous as heroin?” Rosenberg said. “Probably not.”
Last week, the United State Senate Appropriations Committee voted 16-14 for an amendment that would allow marijuana businesses access to federal banking services.
Also last week, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that because of the legality of smoking medical marijuana in that state the smell of pot alone could no longer be used as probable cause that a crime was taking place.
A recent Gallup poll estimated that about 40% of Americans have smoked marijuana. A 2014 Quinnipiac Poll found that 88% of New Yorkers support doctor prescribed medical marijuana.
Photos: Above, marijuana (courtesy the) 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.