Pomfret starts to eye cannabis law

A proposed town of Pomfret law to govern cannabis dispensaries is set for a public hearing.

At its monthly meeting Wednesday, the Pomfret Town Board set the hearing for 6:15 p.m. Sept. 14.

New York’s cannabis legalization measure allows municipalities that “opted in” on allowing sales to create their own laws governing sales of the drug. People who want to grow and sell it legally must get licenses from the state, a process that is in its opening stages.

Pomfret’s draft law was put together by town attorney Jeffrey Passafaro, at the direction of the board. It contains numerous restrictions on cannabis sales, according to a copy provided to the OBSERVER.

Dispensaries in Pomfret will need special use permits from the town before they are allowed to go ahead. All of them must be in fixed buildings with a floor area of 2,500 square feet or less. They must be located in industrial or highway business districts.

Nothing related to possession, sales, distribution, dispensing or administration of cannabis products can be displayed on the exterior of dispensaries, and outside storage will not be permitted.

All cannabis premises in the town must be at least 500 yards away from residences, schools, licensed child care centers, playgrounds, parks, athletic fields, “any other facility where children regularly congregate” and places of worship.

This measure would seem to keep dispensaries away from most of Pomfret’s section of Route 60, which is near the Fredonia Central Schools.

Also, dispensaries cannot be within 500 yards of each other. They will not be allowed to operate drive-thru or drive-in services.

Passsfaro’s draft also sets the hours of operation for cannabis establishments. They are limited to Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

The draft even attempts to govern smells. Cannabis flower has a pungent, distinctive smell that can be sensed from a distance.

Every cannabis establishment in Pomfret will have to be ventilated in such a manner that “no odor… can be detected by a person with a normal sense of smell at the exterior of the building wherein the licensed cannabis/marijuana establishment is located, or at any adjoining use or property.”

As Passafaro noted at Wednesday’s meeting, there is a clause keeping the rest of the law intact, if some part of it is deemed unconstitutional or invalid by higher authorities.


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