Niagara Falls Reporter
Home | Archive / Search
JAN 27 - FEB 03, 2015

Lewiston Council Members Unanimously Enthusiastic about Growing Medical Marijuana in Town

By Frank Parlato

January 27, 2015

All five Lewiston Council members, and Lewiston's State Assemblyman, say they fully support Lewiston Greenhouse LLC, owned in part by the owners of Modern Disposal, being selected as one of five growers statewide of medical marijuana.

This support is seen as critical since state officials - under the direction of Gov. Andrew Cuomo - will pick the five medical marijuana growers in New York based on a variety of factors - not the least of which is support from the local community.

One by one, last week, council members declared support - not only because of the economic benefits of having a growing facility offer to Lewiston and Niagara County - but because - as each attested - of the compassionate aspect that - as a growing body of scientific evidence proves - medical marijuana saves lives and eases suffering.

Topmost of all strains of medical marijuana in the field of medicinal marijuana perhaps is Charlotte's Web, which Lewiston Greenhouses, LLC, has the New York State license to grow and dispense, making the company a leading contender - in a field of what some predict will be as many as 100 applicants -- for one of five farming opportunities in New York State.

"I have to be all for it," said Supervisor Dennis Brochey, "because it helps in the treatment of chemotherapy. It helps relieve pain and side effects from chemotherapy. If it is used medicinally I don't have any issue with it and of course if the Town of Lewiston can make some money from it I'm all for that too."

Lewiston Greenhouse LLC Member Gary Smith said that his company will enter into a reasonable host agreement with Lewiston to ensure that the town shares in the benefits, financially.

If anyone on the council was suspected of being against growing medical marijuana in Lewiston it would be Ron Winkley, the former Lewiston police chief, who arrested more than a few recreational marijuana users and dealers in his day.

But Winkley said he supports medical marijuana and sees a distinction between recreational and medical marijuana.

"I hate to call it 'marijuana'. It is only the name of the plant. In certain instances the benefits are unbelievable. If you have an ailment and this is the drug that works, I would hate to have it hung up because of the name, of the stigma of where it comes from."

Winkley said he read the entire 120 pages of law before giving an opinion on the subject. He added, "It's going to be highly regulated. The state is going to be strict and the facility is going to be secure. The state looked at what is going on in Colorado and worked to make it better. We can improve over what Colorado has done. With a host agreement, (with Lewiston Greenhouse LLC) it could be beneficial economically. It's always good to get more revenue since the state is always giving us more state mandates that they are handing down."

Councilman Alphonso Bax also expressed support.

"I think the opportunity for Modern is also an opportunity for the Town of Lewiston," Bax said. "The application for Modern would be looked at more favorably if it had the sign off of the town. The concern I have as we move into any host community agreement, will be that it benefit both Modern and the Town. The concept of turning h2 grow (Modern's present greenhouse facility where they grow tomatoes) into a medical marijuana facility seems to work. Obviously there are no zoning perimeters (to prevent it). I think the facility is an appropriate one. I know Modern has safeguards with the state to make sure the project is done correctly.

"And Modern has always been a great neighbor to the town. They provide help to our not for profits. There is a lot of cooperation. I would be in support of anything they did that continued that spirit of cooperation."

United in support of medical marijuana. Council members, (from left, above) Alphonso Bax, Ron Winkley, Supervisor Dennis Brochey. (below) Beth Ceretto and William Conrad. All five board members stated they support Lewiston Greenhouse, LLC, owned by investors from Modern Disposal and others, growing medical marijuana in Lewiston, a condition seen as necessary to procure one of five licenses in the state for growing MM.


Bax also weighed in on the value of medical marijuana itself.

"I am in support of medical marijuana and I think we need to be supportive. There are enough studies to prove it works as medicine."

Then getting back to revenue Bax added, "It's the right thing to do given the times we're facing. Between the host community agreement already in place with Modern Disposal and the Greenway funds and now this-- we could really turn ourselves into the gem of Western New York."

Councilman William Conrad also weighed in. He has a 14 year old daughter who has a spinal cord injury incurred as an infant which has left her unable to walk. He feels she might be helped with stem cell research which the government won't presently permit.

"With my family situation, I have seen firsthand, being in children's hospital," said Conrad. "If there is something out there that could alleviate pain and suffering for someone, I don't have an issue with it. Obviously it needs to be controlled and monitored.

"Medical marijuana is a different derivative from our standard partying marijuana. So I'd be in favor of the use of it. When it comes to the town, I would be of the same opinion - permit it - as long as it is done in a safe manner, controlled, with regulations in place.

"Additionally, we are trying to balance the budget and find different sources of revenue and we are pulling back on some places we'd rather not. I would be willing to discuss this with the rest of the board. I would be in favor of it. I want it done in a manner that is respectable. I don't want someone to say the Town of Lewiston is taking drug money. It would be professionally done and up to state standards."

Conrad stressed that money was secondary when compared to the relief from suffering medical marijuana could bring.

"I don't believe we should stand in the way of suffering that goes on and could be helped by medical marijuana," he said.

Rounding out the board is Councilwoman Beth Ceretto. She said, "I think it would be of great benefit. First of all Modern would hire more employees and Modern has always been very good at hiring local residents. The company itself has been very generous to our community. They have been great to the Lewiston area. As far as medical marijuana, I know it would be a pig plus. I think it is a positive move. I would definitely be in favor of this."

Ceretto said she would go so far as to take the lead in sponsoring a resolution endorsing Modern/Lewiston Greenhouse LLC, as a grower of medical marijuana in town.

"Modern is such a clean company and so good not only to Lewiston but to other areas and I think they deserve the right to have it."

To complete the picture, The Reporter contacted John Ceretto, husband of Beth and the representative for Lewiston in the NYS Assembly. He was enthusiastic about Modern growing medical marijuana in town.

"I voted for the legalization of medical marijuana," Ceretto said. "There is definitely a need. I have a son who is going to be physician and he said to me 'doctors are professionals and this is another tool in their tool box.' I would support Modern to grow marijuana. It will create jobs and bring revenue. Modern Corp. has a good reputation. They have done a good job for this area. Not only have they created jobs in Lewiston and helped communities pick up their garbage, they have the good sense to be supportive of the community. If Modern does get the license, we can capture on the revenue side and create jobs for our people."

With this support, Lewiston inches one step closer to becoming the host of one of only five growers of medical marijuana.

Of course there is still a long, hard road to hoe, and competition across the state for one of five growing opportunities is expected to be stiff and intense.





Lewiston Council Members Unanimously Enthusiastic about Growing Medical Marijuana in Town
As Parents Await Help for Their Children, Lewiston Company Has Healing Charlotte's Web and Seeks, Awaits NYS Approvals
Democrats Struggle to Replace Silver as Probe Continues
How SWEET it is for Dyster's Brook D'Angelo
Upstate NY Adults More Likely to Smoke Than Rest of the Nation Study shows dumb, poor people smoke more than intelligent successful people
Will Walker Reveal his Campaign Finances During Anello Show? Maverick Councilman has not disclosed who donated and how he spent
Whether Innocent or Guilty, Sal Anello faces Shocking Sex Crime Charge
Taxpayers through NEA Fund Consensual-Girlfriend-Slapping Videogame
Caso to be Acting DPW?Director, Bradley Drops City Lawsuit But Will Racial Politics Rear its Head ?
Hunter Interest - Another Skrlin Stunning Political Cartoon
Lewiston Supervisor to try to Set World Powerlift Record Sixty-three year old will compete at authorized Niagara Event
Ponderosa is Where I go for a Delicious Seven Course Meal for Under $10 with Coupons in this Newspaper -- You Get Steak Too!
Pit Bull Battle Continues Is Lazy Journalism Fueling the "Pit Bull Problem"?
Pit Bulls, Bred to be Aggressive Like Many of Their Owners
Lewiston: As Koosterman Leaves, Will Brochey Seek Reelection?
All Signs Point to Brady as the Culprit in Deflate-Gate
Some Recent Deaths: In Case You Hadn't Heard
Only in North Tonawanda
Local Crime Blotter
Bizarre Crimes (From Around the Nation, World)
Dirty Birds at City Hall or Much Ado About a Little Guano?
City Hall Jokes!

Contact Info

©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina