News of Otsego County


Letter: Smoky in Muskogee

Letter: Smoky in Muskogee

We drive through Oklahoma a few times a year.

Eastern Oklahoma is beautiful, immortalized by Woody Guthrie’s “Oklahoma Hills.” It’s also a place of crushing rural poverty, as bad as “The Grapes of Wrath,” where the casinos, lotteries and dope shops hoover up the loose change of the working poor.

Oklahoma has become the largest producer of marijuana in America — surpassing Mexico as the low cost supplier of weed. More dope farms than all other Western states combined. More dope farms than corn or cotton. A gram of dope can be had for a small fraction of what it sells for in Colorado or California. Weed has become a commodity product — like milk.

Letter: ‘Pot’tersville


To the Editor:

Frank Capra’s classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” was set in the fictitious village of Bedford Falls, modeled after the real town of Seneca Falls, New York.

In the movie, in an alternative reality, the town declines into Pottersville, where the protagonist George Bailey gets drunk in a bar that was not in Bedford Falls. The salient cinematic difference between the two towns can be summed up as bad zoning: Pottersville’s main street is festooned with bars. Bedford Falls is not.

Caution is advised. If Cooperstown greenlights “cannabis dispensaries” it should zone them off Main Street. Like way out, man.

The patrons will surely find the dispensary, even without a bell.

Chip Northrup

Village splits on dispensaries, lounges

Village splits on dispensaries, lounges

Cooperstown: In on dispensaries, out on on-site “consumption lounges.”

By not voting on a measure that would find the village opting out of allowing retail marijuana dispensaries, trustees defaulted to an automatic opt in that would allow the siting of dispensaries within village limits once New York State establishes its regulatory framework.

Separating dispensaries from on-site “consumption lounges,” the Board voted 5-2 to opt out of permitting locations within the village where smokers could legally inhale pot in a public indoor space. Trustees Hanna Bergene and Joseph Membrino cast their votes against the opt-out.

Letter: Another dispensary ‘no’

Letter: Another dispensary ‘no’

To the Editor:

The most obvious, most sober course of action for the Village Board is to opt out of the state’s comically misguided and tragically misspelled “marihuana” law, and simultaneously schedule a referendum on the matter that, among other things, addresses zoning, etc.

Letter: A vote against dispensaries

Letter: A vote against dispensaries

To the Editor:

I continue to be very concerned about the unknown unintended consequences if cannabis dispensaries and lounges were to be permitted in the Village of Cooperstown.

Whether it will help, hurt, or have no effect on the quality of life, tourism, the nation’s view of the Village of Cooperstown (will they still visit in family units?), the desire of the average person to want to live and work in the village, the view of professionals who would consider working at Bassett (or not), the effect on restaurants and other retail businesses, visitors to the Otesaga, visitors to the museums/Baseball Hall of Fame, vacationers in general, homeowners and home buyers in the village and around the lake, the effect on our schools and the students, paid parking space turnover, air quality in indoor and outdoor spaces, motor vehicle driver problems, and more, is a complete unknown to everyone.

Editorial: Opt out, for now

Opt out, for now

“Now. Before I begin the lesson, will those of you who are playing in the match this afternoon move your clothes down onto the lower peg immediately after lunch, before you write your letter home, if you’re not getting your hair cut, unless you’ve got a younger brother who is going out this weekend as the guest of another boy, in which case, collect his note before lunch, put it in your letter after you’ve had your hair cut, and make sure he moves your clothes down onto the lower peg for you.”

That’s a scene in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, another in the troupe’s pantheon of industrial-grade caustic observation on the absurdity of rule-making.

Welcome, then, to Albany’s convoluted “plan” for the legal sale of marijuana. We support the legal sale of the product; after all, the stuff has been available for decades on the sly and, as one thoughtful speaker said at the Cooperstown Board of Trustees’ recent public hearing on the December 20 vote, when you’re looking for pot on the downlow, chances are the seller is going to try to find some insidious way to introduce you to more dangerous things like cocaine, heroin, and/or fentanyl.

Board weighs opt out, referendum as state’s deadline approaches

Board weighs opt out, referendum as state’s deadline approaches

Some two dozen Cooperstown residents were almost evenly divided in comments during a public hearing Monday, December 6, to address a pending Board of Trustees vote that would find the Village opting out of allowing the retail sale of marijuana within Cooperstown’s borders.

New York legalized the sale of marijuana in April, and allowed local governments to choose whether they want dispensaries and lounges where customers could smoke on-site. To opt out, however, that same state law requires a local government to pass a local law no later than December 31, 2021. Failure to do so automatically opens the locality to dispensaries and lounges; those local governments that vote to opt out prior to the year-end deadline may repeal that local law through permissive referendum at a later date to allow for retail sale.

Cooperstown holds virtual information session on cannabis

Cooperstown holds virtual information session on cannabis

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk held a virtual meeting on November 8 to present information about marijuana legalization in New York and how it might affect Cooperstown.

There was a PowerPoint presentation during the meeting, which was opened up to comments or questions at the end. However, no public comments or questions were made.

This meeting was held two days before a vote is to take place on whether to draft an opt-out law, on Wednesday, November 10.

Cooperstown to consider cannabis opt-out law in December

Cooperstown to consider cannabis opt-out law in December

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

COOPERSTOWN — The Board of Trustees voted to consider a cannabis opt-out law on December 6 at 6:30 p.m.

MacGuire Benton was the  dissenting vote. Hanna Bergene and Joe Membrino were absent.

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh has been in favor of an opt-out law, arguing for drafting a law which would then become open to public comment. “The only option for getting public comment is holding a hearing and that can only be done by drafting a law,” Mayor Tillapaugh said.

New cannabis laws leave enforcement a little hazy

New cannabis laws leave enforcement a little hazy

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Otsego County Sheriff’s Department confirmed this week it is investigating a local business for “gifting” marijuana but that it also is not certain of enforcement protocol.

County Sheriff Sergeant Michael Stalter called the process a “convoluted quagmire.”

“It’s a very difficult thing right now,” he said. “We’re trying to catch up on the new (marijuana possession) laws as it is.

Seward, Salka Say Nay To Legal Pot


Seward, Salka Say

Nay To Legal Pot

2020 Session To Start Wednesday

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


If marijuana is legalized in the state legislative session that begins today, it won’t be with the help of Otsego County’s delegation.

“It’s not my issue,” said state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who said he is “responding well” to cancer treatments, and expected to be in his Albany office on opening day.

“I would hate to move forward on that, particularly with those advocating for the increased revenues — $300 million,” said Seward, now in his 32st two-year term.   “It’s not worth it, because it would cost us a lot more in different ways.”

For his part, Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, who represents Oneonta and Cooperstown, said there’s a “50-50 split” on legalization of marijuana.  “I would vote against it,” he said.

Marijuana Law Prudent Step. Maybe, Just Maybe, Enough


Marijuana Law Prudent Step.

Maybe, Just Maybe, Enough

This year’s wild and crazy one-party bloc in Albany may have, by failing to reach it’s ultimate goal, achieved a sensible outcome in one area.

Governor Cuomo Monday, July 29, signed legislation that reduces the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana under 2 ounces from felony to violation.

The penalty: a $50 fine for less than an ounce to a maximum of $200 for one to 2 ounces. (Above that, dealing’s involved, and stronger penalties kick in.)

It also erases the records of people convicted of possessing small amounts in the past. You may remember: The original goal of the Democratic majority was to create a massive commercial enterprise, with pot stores peppering Main Streets from Brooklyn to Butternuts.

Greed – how to split the huge anticipated revenues – and suburban soccer moms created an impasse.
Pot, of course, is part of our modern landscape. Sending junior to the Big House on finding a joint in his pocket is nonsense. So is creating another Big Tobacco – Big Pot?

Maybe the measure Cuomo signed Monday is just enough. Let’s leave it alone for a while and see how it plays out.

Marijuana Stronger Today, Expert Says At Workshop

Marijuana Stronger Today,

Expert Warns At Workshop

Ben Cort, a Substance Use Disorder treatment expert from Colorado, shows a chart depicting the sharp increase in the average level of THC in marijuana over the past 40 years, from 2.5 to 10 percent, during his presentation, “Marijuana 2019: Commercialization, Community, and the New Normal,” at the Quality Inn today. Regular users of marijuana will rejoice hearing about the increase in the average level of THC and will no doubt be looking for the most THC potent strains. As an example, the khalifa kush thc percentage is 29% in some phenotypes! Obviously, this doesn’t mean all cannabis strains are high in THC. Many strains are higher in CBD than THC which are better for medicinal purposes, whilst others have an incredibly high percentage of THC. It’s all about being knowledgable on marijuana and the different extracts; for example, shatter is an extract that is very high in THC, with levels of 80% or higher. With the state set to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the next year, LEAF sponsored the event so local business and political leaders, human services and health professionals, and educators could learn about the impact of legalization on cannabis use, both recreational and medicinal, and abuse. It’s been noted in the industry that dispensary packaging has evolved in a way that doesn’t play on the previous negative views of the product – instead, it makes light of known slang names for it as well as other associated phrases. Whilst marijuana is still regularly used recreationally, you may find that many people from around the world tend to use this substance and in different forms, like CBD oil, for medicinal reasons such as stress, depression, and pain, to name a few. With the continued growth in its use, it highlights just how far the industry has come in a relatively short amount of time. “We need to understand the big differences between how marijuana was used 40 years ago and how it’s used now,” Cort said. “Not understanding that and not taking cannabis use seriously is doing a disservice to those calling for help with their addiction.” (Jennifer Hill/
Troopers Charge S.C. Driver Over Unregistered Gun, Pot

Troopers Charge S.C. Driver

Over Unregistered Gun, Pot

Devin Smith

WORCESTER – Troopers arrested a South Carolina man on gun and marijuana charges after pulling him over on I-88 in the Town of Worcester, Troop C reported today.

Last Friday, officers pulled over Devin I. Smith,  26, of Irmo, S.C. for speeding, and found an unregistered gun and a 15-round magazine in the glove compartment, the press release said.  In New York State, it’s illegal to have more than 10 rounds in an magazine.

Sheriff’s Deputies Seized Mushrooms, Marijuana, From Car


Sheriff’s Deputies Seize

Mushrooms, Marijuana

Marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms were allegedly found in a car being driven by Skyler Blass and Treyton Hathaway.
Skyler Blass
Treyton Hathaway

ONEONTA – Otsego County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two teenagers and seized three pounds of psilocybin mushrooms and five pounds of marijuana after locating a vehicle that had allegedly fled the scene of an accident over the weekend.

Skyler D. Blass, 19, Otego, and Treyton J. Hathaway 18, Oneonta, were arrested after Otsego County Sheriff’s Deputies were alerted by Otsego County 911 to be on the lookout for a vehicle that had fled the scene of a crash in the Town of Davenport.

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