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CNY Towns Debate Whether To Permit Weed Sales In Their Jurisdiction

 Marijuana buds sit in a glass jar.
Tarryn Mento
/
WAER
Marijuana buds sit in a glass jar.

Some Central New York jurisdictions are just saying no to weed shops.

A newly approved state law that legalizes retail marijuana sales to adults also permits municipalities to block the stores from opening within their borders, but they must decide before the end of this year.

So far at least 75 jurisdictions in the state are taking that step, according to a map compiled by cannabis consulting company Cannasigliere — that includes the villages of Cazenovia and Manlius, plus a handful of other locations in CNY.

The president of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association, Allan Gandelman said he was disappointed local officials are making that move.

“They’re going to opt out because they think dispensaries will attract a lot of drug dealers and heroin addicts and things like that which is completely untrue and misinformed,” Gandelman said.

However, an official of West Seneca, a town near Buffalo, said leaders there opted out partially because the option will no longer be there after the end-of-year deadline passes, according to WIVB.

Gandelman said those who do block retail marijuana sales will miss out on tax revenue. But the law does not permit local officials to ban adults from possessing marijuana, nor does it allow them to bar grow operations, which can be an economic boost, Gandelman said.

“They can’t opt out of cultivation or manufacturing,” he said. “The cultivation and manufacturing has the potential to create tons of jobs in their communities all over the state, create really good jobs, and they can’t opt out of those things and they should start thinking about how to attract those businesses into their communities right now.”

Fayetteville and Minoa’s town officials have opted out but are putting it to a public vote. Camillus and Geddes voters will also have a say on the matter in a November referendum.

When then New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill allowing New Yorkers 21 or older to legally possess and consume cannabis, towns, and municipalities across the state were left with a decision to make. Before 2022, they had to decide whether they’d let marijuana dispensaries to open up in their area.

Now, Central New York towns are debating if they want state-approved marijuana sales in their jurisdictions. According to Cannasigliere, seventy-five municipalities across the state have already said no, including Cazenovia and the village of Manlius in Central New York. President of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association Allan Gandelman said this is largely because of an old stigma.

“They’re going to opt out because they think dispensaries will attract a lot of drug dealers and heroin addicts and things like that which is completely untrue and misinformed,” Gandelman said.

Gandelman also said local officials don’t understand the amount of tax revenue that could come from allowing marijuana sales. He describes one big aspect of this that towns should know.

“They can’t opt out of cultivation or manufacturing,” Gandelman said. “The cultivation and manufacturing has the potential to create tons of jobs in their communities all over the state, create really good jobs, and they can’t opt out of those things and they should start thinking about how to attract those businesses into their communities right now.”

Fayetteville and Minoa’s town officials have opted out but are putting it to a public vote. The same is true of Camillus and Geddes but they’ll wait till November to hold a referendum.