Town of Potsdam sets hearing on law regulating where pot shops can be located
BY ADAM ATKINSON
North Country This Week
POTSDAM — The town board has set a public hearing on its proposed law to manage where retail marijuana shops and smoking lounges can be located.
The hearing is set for April 11 at 6:35 p.m. at the town hall, 18 Elm St.The newly drafted law, introduced by the board at their March 14 meeting, will provide for placement of marijuana establishments in appropriate locations, minimize impact of those businesses on residential neighborhoods and schools, and regulate the security and safety of pot shops.
Potsdam officials were notified early this year by the Dormitory Authority State of New York (DASNY) that the state was interested in setting up the former Olympia Sports store off Route 11 as a cannabis dispensary. Under state law, the shop would be run by a state-approved cannabis business license holder. Under the state’s licensure policy, at least 30 percent of ownership of that license must be by a former inmate convicted of a marijuana offense.
This last part raised eyebrows and concerns at a town board meeting in January. Read the earlier story on the issue online at https://bit.ly/3FtYr8f.
The town reacted by drafting a new law to try to have some control over where dispensaries might be set up by the state.
Under the proposed law drafted by the town, marijuana businesses can’t be located within 500-feet from a school, daycare centers or other facility where children congregate, other marijuana businesses, drug or alcohol rehab facility, correctional facility, half-way house or place of worship.
The draft law also states that marijuana businesses cannot be located within a moveable or non-permanent structure like a trailer or cargo container.
Read the draft of the law at the end of the online agenda file for the March 14 meeting at https://bit.ly/3liW4Ou .
Members of the public will have an opportunity to view the law and comment on it at the April 11 hearing. The town board is expected to adopt the law after the hearing is held.
DASNY, and its subsidiary the Social Equity Servicing Corporation (SESC), was recently charged with providing agency services, design, construction and other services to the state’s Cannabis Control Board, Office of Cannabis Management, and the New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund. The Fund, a $200 million fund established by Gov. Hochul in her budget in March 2022, provides start-up cash, other financial assistance, and support to “equity entrepreneurs at the forefront of the adult-use cannabis market.”
The Fund establishes conditional adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries and then offers them, in a sublease arrangement, to those chosen to hold Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) Licenses.
CAURD licenses are the first cannabis licenses being issued by New York State. To be eligible, at least 30 percent of the business must be owned by an individual previously convicted of a marijuana offense before March 31, 2021 and who has qualifying business experience.
To read more about DASNY’s role in citing cannabis dispensaries around the state visit https://bit.ly/3IF9fm3 .
To read more about how various retail sites are being identified and set up for approved licensees, visit https://bit.ly/3vRvmhE .