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Wawarsing residents to weigh in on proposed major marijuana facility

Jan 18, 2022 5:45 am

Cloey Callahan is reporting for the Times Union residents of the Ulster County town of Wawarsing will sound off Tue., Jan.18, during a public hearing on a proposed major cannabis facility. Chicago-based Cresco Labs has proposed taking over the former Schrade Knife and Avnet Channel Master facilities in Wawarsing to create a cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and distribution plant on a 91-acre lot that has been empty for 17 years. Of the 91 acres, 6.6 are located within the borders of the village of Ellenville. Because the geographic split heavily favors Wawarsing, the town will oversee the project. The town of Wawarsing last year opted out of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption lounges within its borders, while the village of Ellenville, said yes to both cannabis dispensaries and businesses. “We are very supportive of it,” said Ellenville Mayor Jeff Kaplan of the new facility. “We feel it will bring good jobs to the area, and that area in particular which has always been in an industrial site.” Tim Weidemann, Director of Economic Development at Ulster County, said, “In all of my conversations with [Wawarsing] town officials … the town is cautious as they should be about getting too far ahead of themselves on a project, but is supportive and optimistic about it." The applicant for the cannabis facility, Valley Agriceuticals, currently operates a medical cannabis manufacturing facility in Wallkill as well as four medical cannabis dispensaries in New York. Valley Agriceuticals is a division of Cresco Labs, which operates in 10 states where medical marijuana is legal. Cresco originally suggested the addition of the 380,000-square-foot processing plant would create 300 to 400 jobs, but the latest proposal suggests a workforce of up to 679 employees in the future. One question nearby residents had is whether the cannabis facility will emit a strong odor. Ellenville High School is located 1,000 feet south of the site, and the nearest residential properties are 300 feet away to the southwest. According to the submitted plans, construction could be completed within 12 to 18 months of approval. Once built, the plant would operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays. “This is one of the biggest economic opportunities we have had in Ellenville in decades,” Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said in August. Read the full story in the Times Union.