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Sunday, May 29, 2022

City officials patiently await cannabis regulations

What would cannabis dispensaries, consumption sites and growth operations look like in Jamestown?

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These questions will not be answered until the State Office of Cannabis Management has finalized its regulations for dispensaries, consumption sites, and growing operations.

While state officials work out how to regulate the cannabis-related business, city officials are waiting patiently for the start of a new economic market that can generate additional revenue streams. They are also working on developing relationships with potential operators of dispensaries, consumption sites and farmers.

“We have three to four dispensary operators willing to apply (for a license) when the time comes,” Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said. “We have two different growing operators still awaiting regulations. One is a large farmer working on a contract to purchase a building. We have cooperating growers looking for space. A lot will remain with the regulations and how the licenses are delivered.”

Sundquist said he has been told several timetables about when the regulations will be completed. Once state officials draft their regulations, he said, the rules will be made available for public comment first before they are finalized.

“My understanding is, from speaking with people with the cannabis board, that they are actively working on regulations,” He said. They are trying to make New York a model. Trying to learn from other countries that have done this before. We still hope that (regulations) will come at some point, but we still don’t know when.”

As for potential dispensaries, Sundquist said city officials have been contacted by local pharmacies and stores that sell smoking devices such as the e-cigarette business.

“We’ve also seen some interest from companies that currently have cannabis dispensaries in other states,” He said.

As for cannabis growers, Sundquist said city officials have been approached by local growers for other products they might want to grow marijuana plants once they are regulated. He said city officials have also been approached by a large, growing operator who is interested in vacant warehouse space.

“These spaces make good growth operations. These growing operators are very scientific,” He said. “Many of these growing operators bring with them high-quality jobs as botanists and people working in labs who have a real scientific understanding of how plants are grown.”

During his State of the City address at Sundquist in January, he said that the city’s cannabis-related economic development efforts had been featured in three national publications and several podcasts, and Jamestown was quickly becoming known as the future hub of the emerging cannabis economy.

“From small cooperatives featuring many respected local businesses, to large multi-million dollar developments on an industrial scale, the Jamestown cannabis industry will add hundreds of well-paying jobs,” He said. New companies have already purchased millions of dollars’ worth of unused property to redevelop thousands of square feet of vacant and underutilized warehouse, manufacturing and commercial space. This will return the property to the tax roll, which will be part of my goal of reducing the tax burden on current residents. It is also estimated that during the first four years of operation, the city’s retail dispensaries will generate in excess of $500,000 in indirect tax revenue from cannabis sales.”

The sky may be the limit for the city when it comes to the cannabis related business. However, city officials will have to continue to sit in a pattern of patiently waiting for state officials to regulate the new industry.

“We are excited to see the opportunities,” Sundquist said. “It’s a whole new market that we can bring to town.”

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