Two companies eye medical marijuana farms at EPCAL

06/22/2015 6:11 PM |

EPCAL_signThe owners of Ivy Acres may not be the only people looking to grow medical marijuana in Riverhead Town.

Supervisor Sean Walter said he has spoken with representatives of two other companies that were both interested in locating medical marijuana growing facilities at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.

The supervisor says he doesn’t remember the names of either companies — nearly each of the 43 companies listed by New York State is listed as a limited liability corporation, meaning it may do business under another name. For example, the Ivy Acres owners’ application is listed under THC Health Inc.

However, Mr. Walter did remember the people whom he spoke with and said both proposed sites on privately-owned land at EPCAL.

One of them, a representative of Mindful Medical New York, LLC, who asked not to be identified, said in an interview that Mindful Medical, headquartered in Colorado, has since withdrawn plans to locate a facility at EPCAL.

“They were seriously considering it, but I don’t think they felt the community wanted it,” the representative said.

He said that after the Riverhead Town declined to provide a resolution in support of the Ivy Acres proposal on Edwards Avenue, Mindful Medical dropped plans for a medical marijuana facility at EPCAL.

The other company — the name of which remains unknown — was represented by attorney Kathleen Deegan Dickson, Mr. Walter said.

When contacted by the News-Review, Ms. Dickson said by email “I needed to speak with my client first. Unfortunately, I am not authorized to provide any information in this matter.”

Jan Burman, who originally owned about 500 acres at EPCAL — but has since sold off about 400 of them — said that he was unaware of any medical marijuana applications at EPCAL.

After Calverton residents complained about the location of the Ivy Acres proposal at last Tuesday’s Town Board meeting, Mr. Walter said he believes the town will probably write zoning to limit medical marijuana facilities to just the EPCAL, so they would not be located near residential neighborhoods.

“I will proffer zoning to prohibit medical marijuana anywhere but the industrial corridor of EPCAL,” Mr. Walter said last Tuesday. “But the big issue for us is whether the state will pre-empt our zoning.”

He said the town attorney’s office is researching that issue. State and federal proposals can overrule local zoning on some issues, he said.

The state only legalized medical marijuana last year, and it is still illegal under federal law.

The supervisor has said repeatedly that opposes the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes because he feels it will lead to recreational legalization of marijuana. But if it is to grow in town, he thinks it should be limited to the underdeveloped former Grumman property.

“My feeling is that EPCAL is probably the only spot in town that could accommodate it, because of its isolated location and ability to be secured,” Councilman George Gabrielsen said in an interview. “That’s probably the only spot I would support.”

The Van de Wetering family, which runs Ivy Acres, sought the support of the Town Board in early June for their medical marijuana application. Of the five town board members, only Councilmen Jim Wooten and John Dunleavy offered their support to the family. No official vote for or against the application was ever taken.

The New York State Department of Health released the names of the 43 applicants it has received seeking to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana in New York, but it also said that at this time, it will only release the names and no other information about the applications, such as the proposed locations.

State officials have said they will only choose five locations statewide, and they will make that choice sometime in July.

The Ivy Acres proposal, working with THC Health Inc. of Colorado, is proposed at Ivy Acres’ location on Edwards Avenue, north of Sound Avenue.

Jack and Kurt Van de Wetering of Ivy Acres have made presentations about their plans before the Town Board and before the Greater Calverton Civic Association. The civic association later said it opposed the proposed location, but not medical marijuana.

“Whether it is in the public interest” is one of 11 criteria the state will take into account in choosing what locations it will select for medical marijuana facilities. Mr. Wooten said the Ivy Acres site clearly doesn’t have public support.

Other criteria include: whether the applicant will produce sufficient quantities of approved medical marijuana, whether the applicant has the right to use sufficient property, and “the moral character and competence” of the applicants.

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