Town of Clifton Park weighs in on medical marijuana dispensary

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The town of Clifton Park held a forum Monday night for a proposal to locate a medical marijuana dispensary in town.

By 2016, the state of New York is poised to open doors for medical marijuana dispensaries. Many companies are vying for only five licenses statewide, and one company – if approved – is thinking about opening up in Clifton Park.

Two weeks ago, a Plattsburgh company called North Country Roots asked Clifton Park to consider hosting one of its four distribution outlets. The company said it would grow marijuana outside Plattsburgh if it wins one of the licenses.

Public comment Monday night revolved around whether or not Clifton Park should zone certain areas for medical marijuana dispensaries. Currently, if licensed by the state, a dispensary could open its doors anywhere in the town.

“I would like to see it not happen at all,” Jim Baisley said.

While some in Clifton Park aren’t exactly for the dispensaries, they’d rather prepare for the new industry and create zoning laws to control it before it comes to their town.

“We need to find a place, and we need to zone it there,” Baisley continued.

Town Supervisor Philip Barrett said people in the area could benefit.

“There’s people, I’m sure, in the area that are suffering and could benefit from medical marijuana,” he said.

Tom Charboneau is for the dispensary.

“This is a medical marijuana pharmaceutical company,” he said. “It’s going to make pills, liquid form, for people that really need it.”

Charboneau believes the dispensary will be nothing like the hippie image many associate with pot. Rather, he said it’s for those seeking medical need.

“People that are dying, children that have neurological disorders, that have seizures,” he said.

But Mary Blaauboer isn’t as sold. She’s worried about drug abuse and safety.

“I do not want to deny patients with chronic conditions relief from the symptoms,” she said. “I don’t want us to be standing at another candlelight vigil as another unintended consequence of this particular inquiry.”

But with a nephew who has autism and suffers from seizures, Charboneau thinks the risk is worth it.

“And he goes through seizures, and if this stuff can help him and stop it, I’m all for it,” he said.

The Clifton Park Town Board said it will likely vote on possible changes in zoning laws in June. Those zoning laws could determine where medical marijuana dispensaries would go if they ever get licensed and choose to come to Clifton Park.

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