Recreational cannabis dispensaries eye Woodbury

Woodbury. Rushmore Estates issues return to the village board.

| 20 Nov 2023 | 04:49

The Woodbury Village Board meeting on November 14 featured a mixed bag of news for the community. For those in favor of recreational cannabis, dispensaries are planned within the village and town of Woodbury. These dispensaries will differ from others in the area, such as The Botanist in Middletown, which is a medical cannabis dispensary. Currently, medical dispensaries require that a physician certified with New York State issue patients a cannabis license that then grants them entry and allows them to make a purchase. The new dispensaries in Woodbury would allow anyone over the age of 21 to enter and buy cannabis products. It is now legal in New York State to possess up to three ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis if you are over the age of 21. It’s still against the law, however, for anyone under 21 to purchase or use any amount of cannabis, and only certified retailers can sell cannabis.

The federal government still considers cannabis to be a Schedule 1 substance and against the law to have without a medical license. (This means you shouldn’t travel with any marijuana if you’re flying somewhere for the holidays. The TSA is a federal agency and must follow federal law, even if the state you live in has legalized cannabis.)

The Village Board announced that the public comment period concerning the placement, and any other restrictions, on the dispensaries is now open. You may make a comment to the village board or come to an upcoming meeting to give your opinion. The public comment period will end on December 14th. The village board is currently investigating the zoning code, the hours of potential operation, and other standard operating procedures for the dispensaries so as not to interfere with people living near them.

Rushmore Estates returns

The issues involving Rushmore Estates returned. The village board voted 3-2 to deny an extension request by Rushmore Estates for hosting events at the historic bed and breakfast. Previously, the village board had permitted Rushmore Estates to hold up to 24 events at the venue, with the estate’s management team having used 20 so far. The extension was to allow the additional four events to occur early next year. With the board’s vote, Rushmore Estates will now have until December 31st to use those four event slots, if they so choose. Village board members stated they had been more than reasonable in accommodating Rushmore Estates and were exasperated by how long it’s taken the venue to comply with determinations from the zoning and planning boards.

Rushmore Estate’s attorney attempted to blame the planning board, according to the mayor, but the village board was not having it. Trustee Victor Ferrarelli said, “We [the board] acted in good faith, gave them consent, gave them more events than they asked for, and here we are again.” As Woodbury Mayor Andrew Giacomazza said, “For the life of me I don’t know why this took so long to get in front of the planning board, and it’s not the planning board’s fault.” The board also pointed out that they had previously stipulated to Rushmore Estates — back in December 2022 — that the venue had a year to get things correct with the zoning and building. The mayor added that this hasn’t happened yet. The village board stressed they are hopeful Rushmore Estates will follow through on what’s been agreed upon because they want to see the venue succeed and bring more events to Woodbury.