The Fredonia Cannabis Advisory Board and village officials take no official position on the use and legalization of the drug, its founder said earlier this month.
“The Board and the team are neither advocates nor detractors of the use of any substance,” Fredonia Trustee Jon Espersen said at Monday’s board meeting. “The law is the law and our job is to make sure the village is aware of the laws, changing regulations and the position of the village.”
Reporting on committee business, Espersen said he instructed people to contact villages of similar size and college populations where cannabis had been legal for some time, to find out their barriers to implementing sales. .
“We don’t want to reinvent a wheel” he said. “If we can learn from the mistakes they made and avoid them, then I think that would be on us.” A report on what contacts found will come to the next committee meeting.
Espersen noted that there are business opportunities related to growing cannabis. “An ancillary business can be a store that sells aeration equipment or soil, they just can’t sell seeds or plants, but they can sell products to help individuals grow the plant,” he said. “These opportunities are available now, they could be open now.”
There are nine different cannabis sales licenses available from the state, and Espersen encouraged anyone interested in a license to contact his committee.
“We’re working on zoning laws now, placements,” he said. “I have a scalable map of the village so that we can work out exactly where a dispensary or salon can and cannot be, based on the distance to a church or village property, school, a daycare, a park, any of those things.”
Adding that Fredonia was one of the few municipalities considering the possibility of a dispensary, he concluded, “I think it’s incumbent on us to get as far ahead of the cart as possible.”
Mayor Douglas Essek said: “If I implied that this advice was for or against (legalization of cannabis), I apologize.” Essek was skeptical of cannabis legalization and has made statements to that effect at previous village meetings.
Espersen said, “I didn’t assume that. … One thing I wanted to say is that it might be time for the village to consider no smoking signs on village properties because wherever tobacco is allowed cannabis is also authorized. There are obviously places in the village where we don’t want this to happen. And there is no local law on where you can and cannot smoke except in restaurants, sidewalks, etc.
He said there were no-smoking signs in some of the village’s playgrounds, but not in his parks.
Administrator David Bird said smoking restrictions should extend within 50 or 75 feet of parks. He noted that the smoke is moving and there is currently a situation where people are smoking just outside the Barker Street playground, and it is blowing into the playground. Espersen said he and the Police Chief David Price had scheduled a conversation with the owner of the property from which the smoke originated.