Cairo, Hunter, Windham say 'no' to cannabis sales
Roger Hannigan Gilson is reporting for the Times Unio that the town boards of Cairo, Hunter, and Windham have each voted to opt-out of cannabis dispensaries, with many officials saying they did not want to sign onto anything before the state released regulations. Under the law, towns are able to opt back in at a future date. Windham Town Supervisor John Hoyt voted to opt-out of allowing pot shops during a town board vote in early September. "I’ll put it right out there — any community that opted in is very foolish," he said, "because there’s no guidance out there." Hoyt expressed reservations about marijuana itself and how his town, which he called a "family community," would adapt to it. While Windham will not benefit from any potential revenue by opting out, Hoyt said that gaining tax revenue was not a consideration when he cast his vote. Greene County Administrator Sean Groden agreed, calling the revenue argument "insane." Groden said, "We shouldn't be salivating over the prospect of receiving tax income from this – the health implications are too severe." In fact, Groden said he would prefer the "recriminalization" of pot. In Cairo, the five-member town board voted against allowing dispensaries within the town borders in a split vote, with two members voting to allow them. One of the votes in favor of dispensaries was cast by town supervisor-elect Jason Watts, who is set to be sworn in on January 1. "I want cash to come into the town of Cairo – the town of Cairo needs money, so I want that extra little bit of revenue," he said. "Any kind of revenue is better than nothing." Current Supervisor John Coyne was one of the three lawmakers against dispensaries. He said he "voted on the side of caution" because regulations had not been decided upon by the state, and a future town board could always opt back in. In Hunter, the dispensary vote was taken on December 13. Town Supervisor Daryl Legg did not respond to calls for comment. As of December 24, the towns of Ashland, Jewett, and Prattsville had also opted out of allowing dispensaries, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government Marijuana Opt-Out Tracker. The town of Catskill voted to allow dispensaries, but will decide on whether to allow lounges after a mandated public hearing on the issue is held on December 29. The communities of New Baltimore, Lexington, and the village of Catskill, are holding their public hearings and votes between Christmas and New Year's Day, according to the Rockefeller Institute. Read the full story in the Times Union.