Village of Catskill tie vote means cannabis consumption lounges are allowed
Roger Hannigan Gilson reports in the Times Union that just after the Town of Catskill board voted 3-1 to opt out of cannabis lounges on Dec. 29, the Village of Catskill voted 2-2 to opt-in. The tie vote -- Peter Grasse and Jeff Holliday voted to opt out and Joseph Kozloski and Natasha Law voted to allow the lounges -- meant the proposed law to block the lounges did not pass. Earlier in the month, the Town of Catskill decided to allow retail sales. The Village of Catskill has taken no action on cannabis retail sales, and has no plans to before the year ends, so they will also be legal there. The results of the two votes on Dec. 29 mean that if anyone opens a cannabis consumption lounge -- the equivalent of a bar -- then the Village of Catskill will not have to split the three percent tax revenue with the Town of Catskill, according to Holliday. Cannabis use became legal in April in New York, and towns and villages have until Dec. 31 to ban retail stores and/or consumption lounges, or else they become legal. About 40 people attended the village's public hearing Dec. 29, and of the people who spoke, all but one favored allowing lounges. Many cited the need for tax revenue in a village with a poverty rate of 35.5 percent, nearly triple the state average. Read more about this story in the Times Union.