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Fredonia dispensary interest reported

OBSERVER Photo by M.J. Stafford Fredonia Trustee Jon Espersen, chairman of the village’s cannabis legalization advisory committee, speaks Tuesday.

A group interested in bringing a cannabis dispensary to Fredonia has come forward … sort of.

Two representatives of the three local entrepreneurs discussed the plan, which is in its very early stages, at a meeting of the Fredonia Board of Trustees’ cannabis advisory committee this week. Committee chairman Jon Espersen insisted, both immediately before their presentation and privately before the meeting began, that the OBSERVER not use their names. The man and woman who spoke never named the three entrepreneurs they were representing.

Espersen told them that by state law, they will need to let the village clerk know they are applying for a dispensary license within 30 days of doing so.

“Then we have to find out what to do with that information,” he said — a reference to the fact that much is still unclear, over a year after the state legalized cannabis, about the legalities and logistics of starting licensed sales.

The two representatives said they are currently volunteer advisers for family members who want to do the dispensary project but would stay on the sidelines once it is up and running. The family is involved with a real estate and property rehabilitation company that owns a number of buildings in Fredonia.

The business plan will be coming together over the next six to eight weeks. The group intends to use a vacant building in the village for its dispensary, at a site their representatives would not disclose Tuesday.

Espersen, who said he has met with the entrepreneurs, noted, “As far as the village approving it, it’s really up to the state. The village can have input.”

Committee members also noted that priority in license granting is currently going to economically or socially disadvantaged groups, along with people who have cannabis convictions under the state’s old laws.

“The rules are not set in stone,” Espersen said. “I would consider it risky right now to invest a lot of money in something that might not happen.”

The dispensary group wants a multi-use license, for a growing location as well as the dispensary. The growing site and the dispensary would be in separate locations.

Although the exact proposed location for the dispensary was hush-hush, it appears to be in or near downtown Fredonia. “The last thing I think we want to do is move all these (cannabis) businesses to Route 60,” Espersen said.

The group is supposedly starting to renovate buildings already, in anticipation of a license coming.

“You’re our guinea pig,” committee member Greg Krauza said, adding, “You guys have to have a ton of time invested in ambiguity at this point.”

Espersen asked the group’s representatives to keep him posted on the progress of their plans, and they agreed.

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