Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Medical Marijuana and Hudson

There was a special meeting of the Common Council last night, the agenda for which consisted of three items: (1) Hudson Police and Court Center plan to be submitted to the Office of Court Administration; (2) Solar energy contract; (3) Authorizing the payment of certain bills. 

The "certain bills" turned out to be the payments for the public events awards made by the Arts, Entertainment & Tourism Committee. The Council unanimously approved payment.

The resolution having to do with the Police and Court Center authorized rebidding the project and submitting a capital plan for the project to the Office of Court Administration. Of greatest interest in the capital plan is the "Schedule of Project Milestones" that it sets forth:
June 3, 2015--Submission of Capital Plan to the Office of Court Administration.
July 21, 2015--Completion of value engineering, discussions and modifications to existing plans and specifications, issuance of amended bond resolution, approval of modified plans and specifications, and issuance of bidding documents.
September 15, 2015--All bids vetted and resolution adopted awarding contracts.
November 1, 2015--Commencement of construction.
July 1, 2016--Completion of construction and commencement of relocation.
Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) expressed disbelief that it had taken a month to produce the capital plan. "This document says nothing," he declared. Still, when the Council voted, the resolution passed, with only Friedman and Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) voting against it.

The topic that took up the most time was an item that was not part of the original agenda and had to be added by unanimous consent of the Council: a proposal to create a licensed medical marijuana facility in 40,000 square feet of the former L&B building at 99 South Third Street. Good Green Group, LLC, headed up by Kristen and  Stephen Steeneck, a sister and brother from Yorktown Heights in Westchester County. Only five medical marijuana facilities will be licensed in the State of New York, and Good Green Group hopes to be one of them. Stephen Steeneck, accompanied by former assistant city attorney Daniel Tuczinski, who had been retained by Good Green Group only five days ago, appeared before the Common Council seeking support for their application to the New York State Department of State. 

One of the things Tuczinski and Steeneck emphasized was an innovative plan to turn the unusable parts of the marijuana plants into compost, which would go to Heroic Food, the program that trains post-9/11 military veterans for careers in sustainable farming. 

According to Steeneck, developing the facility in Hudson will cost $10 million, but he already has commitments from investors of more than $100 million. Steeneck told the Council that three hedge funds wanted to invest, and Tuczinski assured the Council that there is "no shortage of investors." Tuczinski characterized Hudson as "a perfect storm of opportunities": an underutilized industrial building, a need for jobs, a nearby agricultural community that can benefit from the compost produced. It was not clear exactly how many jobs would be created by the facility. At one point, Steeneck said there would be a "minimum of 70 jobs for manufacturing"; later, he spoke of "at least 120 jobs"--the additional jobs apparently being in control and security.

Both Alderman Nick Haddad (First Ward) and Alderman Henry Haddad (Third Ward) had problems with the quality of the writing in the document presented by Good Green Group, LLC. Nick Haddad called it "disjointed" and opined, "I expect your investors read something more polished." The entire document can be accessed here, but this paragraph, the company's mission statement, provides an example:
It is not every day that you have a chance to make a difference in someone's life and provide them with the best medicine, in purest form, to assist them in a better quality of life. The Good Green Group is humbled to have the chance to make a difference and will, given the opportunity to perform will showcase the purest forms of Medical Marijuana with the highest quality and with the highest regard to the patients needs. The Good Green Group will be the benchmark standard the State of New York will proudly show off as a true New York run diverse minority owned company that the rest of the country will try to measure up to. Start up New York starts at home and with a team of people who want to show that New Yorkers can and will do it all, just given the chance. We love New York for a reason, it is who we New Yorkers are.
Despite the amateurish prose of their proposal, the Common Council voted unanimously to support the Good Green Group's application to become a licensed medical marijuana producer (in Hudson) and dispenser (in four other locations).

The solar energy contract, which was part of the original agenda, got short shrift. At the beginning of the meeting, Council president Don Moore explained, as Gossips has already reported, that an RFP for a purchase agreement for electricity produced by a photovoltaic power system was issued last Friday. At the end of the meeting, he offered to speak more about this subject, but instead one of the members moved to adjourn.


  1. Replies
    1. Read the document. They put it in some kind of big vat and add an enzyme. The process is called "Bokashi."

    2. Thanks, I will. It sounds intoxicating.