CANTON – The village board of trustees heard from a handful of residents during a virtual hearing about the legal sale of marijuana in Canton.
There were 23 people who signed up for the Zoom meeting, which completed in just 25 minutes.
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act was enacted in March by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, legalizing the sale and use of recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and over. It immediately erased previous marijuana-related convictions from New Yorkers’ records and created a framework for business regulation.
Cities, towns, and villages across the state can choose not to allow pharmacies by passing local law by December 31, when communities would forego tax revenue from businesses within their borders.
When pharmacy sales begin, probably next year, a total cannabis excise tax of 13% will be charged. The tax is divided into 1% for the district, 3% for the community of the pharmacy and 9% for the state.
Should the village decide to opt out, the villagers could request a referendum or the village could hold a referendum of its own accord. Otherwise, pharmacies could be opened as soon as the regulatory mechanisms of the Marijuana Ordinance and Tax Act are further developed.
Most of the commentators on Wednesday evening were in favor of allowing the sale in Canton.
“The approval of cannabis dispensaries and their on-site use in Canton Village is good for the economy of the village and town, and I would wholeheartedly support it,” said Lenore E. VanderZee.
SUNY Canton Executive Director for University Relations, Ms. VanderZee, said she was speaking for herself only, but noted that the college added cannabis business courses to its curriculum to recognize the potential growth of the industry in New York .
Not allowing sales in Canton while other cities and villages advance would mean Canton would miss out on tax revenue from cannabis sales, Ms. VanderZee said.
Marti MacArthur also cited the potential revenue a pharmacy would bring in their argument for selling locally.
“The people in Canton and certainly also the students will go to other villages,” she said.
Ms. MacArthur, a medical marijuana user, said she had to go to Plattsburgh to get her medication before marijuana stores opened on the Akwesasne reservation.
“It would be great to have it here in Canton,” she said.
Marijuana has many benefits beyond recreational use, she added.
“Many of you would be very surprised that people you know use marijuana and have to go elsewhere to get it,” said Ms. MacArthur.
“I’m diametrically opposed to it,” said Gerard Tozzi.
Mr Tozzi described that he found hypodermic needles near the location of an intermediate house in Canton.
“I don’t think it is proper for us to introduce any other form of dope in Canton,” he said.
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