Saugerties to hold opt-out public hearing
William J. Kemble is reporting for the Daily Freeman the members of the Saugerties Town Board are asking residents to turn out for a new public hearing on December 29, and comment on whether the town should opt out of a state law permitting cannabis retail businesses and on-site consumption sites. Supervisor Fred Costello said the hearing was set after some board members said they wanted to make sure comments on the cannabis law were specific. “There is consensus among the board members to hear from people specifically on the question of opting out,” Costello said. During a November public hearing on where cannabis establishments would be allowed if the town does not opt out, only a few people spoke; most in opposition to sales do support sales for medical cannabis. A December 15, session drew about a dozen speakers, with everyone against allowing cannabis lounges. One person said they would be less opposed to retail sales than lounges. Costello said a vote on opting out could still occur following the hearing next week, which is taking place only two days in advance of the state deadline for board action. Costello noted that board members have not indicated whether they would vote to opt out of the state law and that his position has evolved during the past two hearings. Many of the concerns that emerged at the previous hearing focused on the perception that cannabis sales sites would change the community character. “Do you really want to be known as a destination for pot?” resident Suzanne VanWagenen said. “Do we really want to take down our ‘Welcome to Friendly Saugerties’ signs and replace them with ‘Let’s Get Stoned in Saugerties’ signs?" Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.