Municipalities take a wait and see attitude toward marijuana dispensaries
Melanie Lekocevic and Sarah Trafton are reporting for Columbia-Greene Media under the legislation recently signed into law legalizing adult recreational use of marijuana in New York, municipalities are able to opt out if that's the preference after dispensaries are legally permitted to open in April 2022. Cities, towns and villages can prohibit marijuana dispensaries, but counties cannot. “It’s not even an option for counties. It will be up to cities, towns and villages. According to the legislation I read, counties won’t have a say in it,” Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger said. The legislation includes a 13 percent excise tax on marijuana sold in the state, with 3 percent going to the municipality and 1 percent going to the county, he said. Linger does have concerns about people driving under the influence and with the amount of power needed for the growing process. “If you are growing, you are using hydroponic lamps and things like that, and I think that could cause a problem. ...If something like this takes off and people grow it in their own homes, it’s going to take a fair amount of power and I don’t think it helps the power problem,” he said. Coxsackie Town Supervisor Rick Hanse said the town board has not yet discussed opting out, but he plans to discuss the issue with the board. He does have concerns with the legislation, though. “I worry about driving under the influence of that or any other drug,” Hanse said. The supervisor has not been approached by anyone considering opening a dispensary, he said. Coxsackie Mayor Mark Evans said the village board has not discussed the issue and he has not been approached by anyone in the village looking to start a dispensary. Athens Mayor Stephan Bradicich, said the same — that the topic has not been discussed by the village board, nor has he heard from anyone that wants to open a marijuana dispensary. “We haven’t gotten anything official from the state [about the new law],” Cairo Town Supervisor John Coyne said. “We will address it when that information comes to us.” In Windham, any proposed dispensaries would have to apply to the town planning board, Windham Town Supervisor Thomas Hoyt said. “They would have to go to the planning board with a site plan and people in the community would have a chance to comment on it,” he said. “To be honest, I haven’t given it any thought yet,” Hoyt said. Catskill Town Supervisor Dale Finch agreed that he would want to hold community forums. “I wouldn’t make that decision based on revenue, personally,” he said. “It’s really about what else do we want in the town of Catskill. Finch said he would want to get input from local recovery resources and the police department, as well. Read more at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.