The Examiner

Mt. Kisco Trustees Seek to Regulate Medical Marijuana Distribution

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The Mount Kisco Village Board of Trustees is seeking to become one of the first municipalities to regulate the distribution of medical marijuana.

Last month the trustees instructed Village Attorney Whitney Singleton to create the proposed regulations. The distribution began on Jan. 5.

Mount Kisco Mayor Michael Cindrich said last month the board wanted Singleton to explore the power municipalities have to regulate marijuana dispensaries through zoning. “You have to provide a location for every use,” Cindrich said. “If we do have to provide this location it’s going to be in a location of our choosing.”

“What we want to prevent is any situation that could create a problem,” Cindrich later added. “We want to be proactive and not have any surprises. There’s a place for everything and we want to make sure it’s not dictated to us.”

If it needs to be provided, medical marijuana should be available “in larger municipalities,” Cindrich said.

Mount Kisco Deputy Mayor Anthony Markus said he wanted to know whether marijuana dispensaries could be banned in the village. If the village could not prevent them come from coming, Markus said he wanted to know where they would be placed. Markus said cabarets and other businesses have to be located a certain distance away from schools and churches.

Markus said the board also wanted to know what power the village has in regulating the sale of marijuana smoking paraphernalia.

Singleton said his research so far has indicated that only North Hempstead, Nassau County has been considering legislation to regulate distribution of medical marijuana. Newsday reported on Dec. 27 that an application for a marijuana dispensary was filed in North Hempstead even though town officials thought that local zoning barred dispensaries.

State Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Yorktown) said he supported the concept of the distribution of marijuana for medical purposes “for specific diagnosis.”

Marijuana has been helpful for some patients, Murphy said. For example, it has helped people with epilepsy.

“People often have hundreds of epileptic seizures within an hour,” he said. “This has been proven to help them.”

Cancer patients also have been helped by marijuana, Murphy said.

The marijuana should be “absolutely non-smokable” and be in the form of an oil base, Murphy further explained.

“Who’s going to be distributing that? We don’t know,” he said. “The state is in the infancy stage of this, of trying to figure this all out.”

Murphy said the state has designated six medical marijuana dispensaries and each dispensary is allowed to have five locations. Though he was not certain, Murphy said he assumed there could be one Westchester site where medical marijuana would be distributed.

The state does not yet have regulations on how the marijuana is to be distributed, even though the deadline to come up with a plan was Jan. 1, Murphy added.

“There are a lot of unknowns to this,” he said.

Murphy said he believed the state Department of Health would be responsible for regulating the distribution of medical marijuana and that it would depend on a patient’s diagnosis. He agreed that municipalities should play a role in determining how marijuana is distributed.

“I’ve always and will continue to always be for home rule,” he said. “I’ll be sitting down with the mayor and the board to figure out if they want it here or if they don’t want it here.”

Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-White Plains) said he also supported medical marijuana, but its distribution must be regulated.

“I am firmly of the belief that medical marijuana distribution should be under a proper physician’s care,” Buchwald said. “Under the law a licensed physician needs to determine if a patient suffering from a debilitating or life-threatening illness will benefit from the use of medical marijuana. If medical marijuana can relieve some of the suffering of these patients, we should make sure they have access in a safe and orderly way.”

“Last July, the passage of the Compassionate Care Act made it legal for certain patients suffering from intense, chronic or debilitating pain to receive a prescription for medical marijuana from a licensed practitioner,” Buchwald said. “New York’s Compassionate Care Act permits physicians to prescribe non-smokable forms of medical marijuana.

“The Department of Health oversaw a selection process for a limited number of medical marijuana providers in New York State. A total of only five companies are allowed under the law to manufacture medical marijuana, and each company can have only four dispensing sites around New York State,” Buchwald said. “All of those sites have already been designated. That process has led to dispensaries being licensed for White Plains and Yonkers, however there is no further expansion for dispensaries planned beyond the initial sites,

“The Compassionate Care Act does not explicitly address local laws with regard to the siting of dispensaries. I have not heard of other municipalities preparing their own laws above and beyond the state rules, but of course this might be happening somewhere.”



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