54.3 F
Sunday, May 19, 2024

Site Plan Approval Granted to Schenectady’s Second Marijuana Dispensary


SCHENECTADY — ⁢The city of Schenectady is set​ to⁣ welcome its second cannabis dispensary, Grass‌ & Goodness, following the ​unanimous approval ‍of a site plan application by the​ city planning commission. The proposed location for the new⁣ cannabis shop is the Proforma retail complex at 1650 Crane St.

The retail complex, situated on the Rotterdam border, houses Proforma, ​Lee’s Trophies,⁣ and Twist’N Flip Gymnastics. It is conveniently located next to Sportsman’s Bowl, which has a separate parking‌ lot from the business plaza.

The city’s pioneer cannabis retailer, Upstate Canna Co., opened its doors on upper Union Street in March 2023. The ‌store quickly gained popularity,⁢ with‌ long queues often seen stretching down the block. This led to local businesses expressing concerns‍ about‌ the disruption caused by the influx of ‌customers at the cannabis shop.

Planning Commission Chair Mary Moore Wallinger expressed her belief that the proposed Crane Street cannabis retailer, due ⁤to its more remote ‍location, should ⁣cause less disruption to nearby businesses. She‌ highlighted the absence of public opposition during‍ Wednesday’s⁣ meeting​ as further evidence of this.

“This location seems to‍ be a more suitable‍ choice for such a business,” Wallinger said.

Joseph Guidarelli, the⁢ owner of Proforma, presented the ⁤site plan application for the dispensary to the​ planning commission. The dispensary ⁣is set to operate out of​ a 3,900 square foot retail space⁣ previously occupied by Proforma, which will retain 2,275 ‍square feet of ⁣space at ‍the site.

Guidarelli also mentioned that the gymnastics business, currently operating out of a 6,795-square-foot site in the corner of the business complex, is set to relocate to Rotterdam before the ‍dispensary opens.

The bowling alley across‌ the lot from the⁤ complex⁣ hosts children’s and junior ⁢bowling ⁢leagues Fridays through Sundays.

The complex ‍provides 52 parking spaces, ⁣and the shop plans to offer curbside pickup options.

Guidarelli assured the commission that the dispensary does not anticipate lines forming outside the door when it opens.

“If that’s the case, we’re failing as a business operation,” Guidarelli said. “We want it to be in-and-out. We don’t ⁣want people hanging around.”

The Crane Street dispensary plans to operate ⁤seven days per week, from 9 a.m. until ​9 p.m.

Guidarelli stated that the timeframe to open the cannabis dispensary is yet ⁤to⁢ be determined.

The Crane ⁣Street dispensary received an‍ Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License from the state⁣ Office of Cannabis Management in February.

The City Council passed a three-month smoke ‍shop moratorium in March that bars applicants from receiving building permits and⁢ land use‍ approvals for smoke and vape shops between March ⁤12 and ​June 10 as the council crafts zoning restrictions for the location of future smoke shops.

The council explored separate zoning restrictions for‌ cannabis dispensaries last summer but, during discussions on smoke shop zoning this spring, the council was informed by the city’s corporation counsel office that city zoning⁣ restrictions for ⁤cannabis retailers would not be allowed, as it would conflict with state cannabis ⁣regulations.

“We’ve been told that we don’t have any say over zoning because it’s a state thing,” ​Council President Marion Porterfield said on Thursday.

According to the state Office of​ Cannabis Management, local municipalities ⁣are permitted‍ to “pass local laws and regulations governing the time, ⁢place and ⁢manner of adult-use retail‍ dispensaries and on-site consumption licenses provided ⁣that the local law and regulations do ⁣not⁢ make the operation of the license unreasonably impracticable as determined⁢ by the Cannabis Control Board.”

The state regulations note that municipalities are‌ permitted to pass laws and regulations pertaining to local zoning for cannabis retailers.

Corporation Counsel Maxine ⁢Barasch did not respond ⁣to a⁢ request for comment on Thursday.

State regulations prohibit cannabis dispensaries from setting up shop on the same road and within 500 feet⁢ of a⁤ school or on the same street and within 200 feet of ⁤a house of worship.⁢ The Crane Street dispensary would be located one mile from Hamilton⁣ Middle School.

In December 2021, Porterfield ‌proposed that the city opt out of allowing recreational cannabis ⁣sales in the city, but was ultimately outvoted on the matter.

“I think that is a better location,” Porterfield said⁣ of the Crane Street dispensary. “If we’re talking about some of ​the concerns that ‍have been brought up so far on ⁢Union Street about the lines outside, that‍ [Crane Street] location doesn’t‍ sound like it will be as impactful in that way.”

During​ Wednesday ⁢night’s meeting, the planning commission tabled a site plan application for‌ a separate cannabis dispensary, which would be located at 1643 Eastern Parkway. The applicants ‌for that proposed dispensary, named Cloud ‍9 Evolution, were asked to confer with ​City Engineer Chris Wallin regarding parking⁣ concerns about the site.

Councilwoman Doreen Ditoro submitted a letter to⁣ the planning commission noting her concerns with the proposed Eastern ⁤Parkway dispensary, which would be located a half of a mile from Upstate Canna Co.

“We’ve ⁢seen two or three smoke shops in a neighborhood and I don’t want us to be known as the cannabis city,” Ditoro said. “There’s no need to have one a half-mile away.”

Ditoro said she would be more amenable to the location for ‍the Crane Street ​cannabis retailer.

“I ⁣do like locations like that ‍and I don’t want ‌people who use a legal product to ‍feel as though they’re being pushed out of anywhere by any means,” she said on Thursday. “I’m all for new business here in the city. It’s just that⁤ there’s certain places that it doesn’t belong.”

Correction 4/19/24, 11:20 a.m.: An earlier version of ‌this story had an incorrect business name for Grass &‌ Goodness.

Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
Latest news
Read More


  1. Bad punctuation and grammar, Disagree – This decision will only attract more undesirable elements to our community.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here