Massena idle on cannabis decision

Photo by Michael Fischer/Pexels

MASSENA — The Massena Village Board adopted a resolution authorizing cannabis dispensaries in the village, but not on-site consumption during its meeting on Tuesday. But two residents said they don’t want to see marijuana in the village at all.

Doris Robinson and Charles Boot shared their feelings during a public comment period of the board’s regular monthly meeting.

Ms. Robinson wondered if the state law regarding cannabis had been finalized, “all the ifs, ands and buts.”

“Yes. They even started to appoint a cannabis board,” Mayor Timothy J. Ahlfeld said. “The new governor started to appoint members to the cannabis board to move things forward. But the law’s been written.”

“I’m not in favor of it,” Ms. Robinson said.

Mr. Boots asked for clarification on dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments.

“Is that correct, to say you can’t use it on-site? You go to the store. You have to take it some place else?” he asked.

“Correct. That’s the law,” Mr. Ahlfeld said.

Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire said on-site consumption establishments would be similar to smoking or cigar lounge-type establishments.

“If we proceed with this local law, that would not be allowed. There would be no marijuana consumption sites,” Mr. LeBire said. So, what they do in their own private home is their business. But if they buy it in a dispensary, they would not be able to just smoke it right there.”

Trustee Francis J. Carvel equated it to purchasing alcohol at a liquor store.

“If somebody goes into a liquor store and buys a quart of liquor, they can’t drink it in that liquor store,” he said. “They have to take if off the premises,”

Mr. Boots said he felt marijuana was a gateway drug and individuals would move on to other drugs when the marijuana no longer provided “enough kick,” and he opposed its sale in the village.

“As a result, they’re going to go into something else. And then we’re going to have more problems, more medical problems, driving problems, whatever,” Mr. Boots said. “This community has had over the years a lot of tragedy. We’ve had meetings over at the community center where we’ve tried to address the issue about drugs and say, ‘If you need help, we’ll give you help.’ Now, we seem to be going back in the other direction. We’re saying, ‘We’re going to have a store for you. You can come in and you can buy it.’”

Trustees unanimously supported the resolution to ban on-site consumption establishments.

Mr. Ahlfeld said he had received one letter, “and he was totally in favor of doing what we’re doing,” but, he said, there was also some confusion regarding what was allowable.

“This does not mean that we will not allow for dispensaries. We still allow dispensaries. We’re just going to opt out of on-site usage,” he said. “That’s what our board has talked about since May. If by opting out, we can always opt back in. But if we didn’t opt out, then we’re going to be in it forever and ever.”

Mr. LeBire said the feedback he had received regarded dispensaries.

“I haven’t had anyone reach out to me in terms of these on-site consumption establishments,” he said.

Trustee Gregory Paquin said he had heard that individuals were okay with the sale, but were against on-site establishments.

Mr. Carvel said even if dispensaries weren’t authorized in the village, people would find another location to buy marijuana.

“The other day I drove to the reservation. Just on (Route) 37 alone, I think I counted seven dispensaries. That’s just on 37, so it’s out there,” Mr. Carvel said. “The only thing we can do is to stop the on-site consumption of it so that you don’t have a place where they’re coming out high or intoxicated by marijuana. I don’t believe we can stop the sale of it. They’re going to get it somewhere, somehow. But at least this stops the ability to have a place where they can gather and smoke it on the premises.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(1) comment


Mayor Boots and village board. Are we not all democrats. Governor Coumo signed this into law!! He is your governor? Did you all call and complain then?

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