Grow With Jamestown: City Officials Eyeing Marijuana Cultivators

Jamestown’s newest economic development plan will focus on the state’s legalization of marijuana.

On Wednesday, city officials announced that it will be marketing its competitive advantage like the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities and vacant manufacturing facilities to commercial cannabis growers.

Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said the city provides affordable power and water, multiple potential locations and a welcoming community with a capable workforce for commercial cannabis grow operations. He said there are available vacant manufacturing and industrial facilities along Allen, Crescent and Second streets in the city. He added that city officials have toured at least four facilities and there are at least 10 available locations for future marijuana growing operations.

“”We’ve been actively touring potential locations in anticipation for folks in growing operations, so we have a working understanding of what is available in the community,” he said. “We see this new market as an opportunity to make some significant changes and we’re excited about it. We’re pushing it out on a statewide level. We want folks to look at the opportunities here in the city of Jamestown. We’re trying to find new economic development and we have to figure out how to do that, and this is one way we are doing it.”

Sundquist said, under state law, municipalities cannot prohibit growing operations. However, he said the city can regulate time, place and matter of any business in the city through it’s zoning code. He added typically growing operators in other cities don’t target residential areas.

“That is not where a lot of cannabis businesses tend to go. They are in manufacturing areas,” he said. “So we are looking at a new market that hasn’t been tapped before and we haven’t had the opportunity to tap before. This could bring new economic development and jobs into the area.”

Sundquist said the BPU’s business development coordinator, Craig Garass-Johnson, has been working with city officials on how to market the city’s potential to marijuana growers.

“We’re promoting sites and our utilities as well,” he said. “These types of business will increase the usage of electricity, water and wastewater, which will provide a director economic benefit to the BPU and the city as a whole. It means increased tax dollars, increased sales tax and increased workers, who are moving to the city and potentially fixing up our housing stock. We are working diligently to develop this new market and to market Jamestown for potential operations.”

In April, Sundquist had a discussion with the Jamestown City Council about the newly passed state law allowing the use of recreational marijuana. At the time, Sundquist said local pharmacies had inquired with city officials about being potential dispensers. He said, during the last couple months, city officials continue to receive inquiries from potential dispensary and on-site consumption site owners, along with those interested in possibly locating a grow operation in the city.

During the discussion in April, Sundquist said by the end of the year, the council will have to decide whether to opt out of allowing dispensers to operate or allow them to be active in the city. Along with dispensers, he said the city can opt out of allowing on-site marijuana consumption facilities as well.

Under the state law, individual municipalities must act by the end of the year on passing a law banning these dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments. If a law is approved by the council, it will then go to a public vote to decide if the law will be enacted. No action is needed if a municipality wants to allow dispensers and on-site consumption locations to operate.

The state law already regulates how close dispensaries and consumption facilities can be located to schools and places of worship. Even if the city opts out of allowing dispensers and on-site consumption facilities, recreational marijuana use and possession will still be legal within the city.

The state will impose a 13% tax on the purchase of pot in a municipality, with 9% going to the state, 3% going to the municipality and 1% to the county, Sundquist said.

For more information, visit jamestownny.gov/cannabis and fill out the contact form, or call either the Jamestown Department of Development at 483-7541 or dod@jamestownny.gov or the Jamestown BPU’s Business Development office at 661-1686 or cgjohnson@jamestownbpu.com.


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