Marijuana legalization: Time running out for NY towns to opt out of dispensaries, on-site consumption

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WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The clock is ticking for cities and towns in New York State to decide whether or not to give marijuana shops the green light.

The town of West Seneca made a decision pending a vote by the town board. Town supervisor Gary Dickson said the town board voted 4-1 to have the town attorney draft a local law to opt out of hosting dispensaries or having on-site consumption licenses.

“We did this mainly to preserve our options going forward,” Dickson said. “Because if we don’t opt out before the end of the year then we can never opt out.”

The local law will go to a public hearing, any changes will be made, then the board will vote to adopt it.

Victor Cracknell owns The Greener Mile smoke shop in West Seneca.

“It sounds like it’s just a covering their bases kind of thing which is probably a smart move,” he said. “But in the long run the country sees how beneficial this medicine is they’re seeing it’s not as harmful as the past decades have told us so I think its definitely still going in the right direction. I would think probably the town of West Seneca would benefit from the tax revenue.”

Some other local towns have a similar approach including Ashford in Cattaraugus County.

Councilman William Heim said they wouldn’t opt in before knowing exactly what’s in the bill. He also said many people in town don’t want to opt in.

“It’s just a prelude to something stronger and we don’t need it in our community. Majority of people don’t want it so that’s what we have to go by,” said Heim.

Cracknell said he has other options if West Seneca stays opted-out.

“We would probably just more to a different area that would be happy to take our tax money.”

If towns don’t choose to opt out by Dec. 31, they can’t opt out in the future.

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