|City owned building
to get medical marijuana factory.
Greenbelt Management will rent from the City a 15,000-square-foot lease area to produce medical marijuana. The company will be spending $25,000 on a tenant fit-out to upgrade the space to fit the needs of such a facility Councilman Todd Berch gave a speech praising the endeavor as did Mayor Drew, citing economic benefits. The City stands to earn $75,000 in rent from the particular lease to Greenbelt Management.
Councilwoman Bartolotta, abstained citing that her husband is a law enforcement officer. In the past, Councilman Robert Santangelo abstained for the vote on the beer brewery at the Factory Building citing his being a drug & alcohol counselor as his reasoning, however prefaced his voting this evening saying that Novocaine is derived from opiates and cannabis is also an opiate used for pain relieving purposes, there for, he felt saw the therapeutic qualities.
Republican Councilwoman Salafia, Councilmen Pessina and Bibisi voted against the lease. Councilwoman Salafia cited one of her issues for apprehension to approve regarding mold prevention, air quality control, non existent health and safety regulations for growing facilities, possible risks to other tenants (because the FDA does not recognize medical marijuana there for there are no standards for air quality control) and other physical logistics of such a facility being housed in a rapidly aging building such as Remington Rand. Councilmen Pessina and Bibisi, both former police officers, questioned the security that would be needed at such a facility as one of their reasons for their nay votes this evening. Last week an unidentified person in a pickup stole a $20,000 piece of lawn equipment from the Remington Rand Factory Building and has yet to be identified by surveillance video; the three council members cited this example.
All three Republicans mentioned that the projected tenant fit out cost seemed quite low and that the status of cannabis still being illegal in the eyes of the Federal Government. was an issue that they felt the City should not get in the middle of. Councilman Pessina told a story of a former police officer who on his death bed from cancer still would not use marijuana after a life time of witnessing what he called "destruction" it caused to people; Pessina shared this sentiment The Republican Council members brought up that the question still remained unanswered as to whether this illegal status on a federal level could possibility jeopardize the ability of the Middletown to receive federal money for much needed building maintenance of the factory. The factory is already in need of a new roof.
From the audience, Middletown Republican Town Committee president expressed his disapproval of a facility manufacturing marijuana to be housed in a municipality owned property due to the fact that marijuana is still classified as an illegal drug by the Federal Government, and not approved by the Food & Drug Administration. Council candidate and current BOE member Ryan Kennedy, echoed the federal legality concerns, and added that he felt that for a City facility to seek such a tenant, was taking the opportunity away from a unoccupied space elsewhere being leased. Kennedy felt that the City should not compete with private industry and economic growth that could potentially be more wide spread.
A few of the Council members supporting the lease said they anticipated that the federal government would make medical marijuana legal in the near future. Voting in favor were Democratic Council persons Serra, Santangelo, Daly, Faulkner, Klattenberg, and Berch.