Potsdam Civic Center. Watertown Daily Times

POTSDAM — The Village Board of Trustees will not be opting out of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act and will allow both marijuana dispensaries and marijuana consumption lounges in the village.

Trustees conducted their second marijuana law listening session Monday night before their regular meeting.

Ann McLaughlin, a licensed massage therapist, who has taught classes on cannabis for the life long learning group SOAR, urged trustees to allow for social consumption businesses.

Social consumption sites are beneficial to the community, Ms. McLaughlin said.

Ms. Mclaughlin said she had traveled to other communities where social consumption businesses were located.

“It is a positive force in the community,” she said. “Cannabis is safe in a regulated market.”

Without a social consumption site, some people will miss out on the benefits of marijuana she said.

People who live in subsidized housing or in rental properties that don’t allow smoking would miss out, she said.

“It (consuming marijuana) doesn’t need to be demonized and we don’t have to hide it anymore,” she said.

Trustees also heard from Christa Haifley who teaches cannabis business courses at SUNY Potsdam.

There will be about 10 different kinds of licences developed by the Cannabis Control Board, Ms. Haifley said. Opting out would cause the village to miss out on the taxes that will be collected by the businesses. she said.

“Making this accessible is important,” she said.

Mayor Reinhold J. Tischler said he did not expect the village to opt out.

“It’s pretty much been decided,” he said.

Mr. Tischler said that since the only option was to opt out, the board would take a largely ceremonial vote in December to approve locating marijuana businesses in Potsdam.

Signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in March, the MRTA legalized recreational marijuana sales and use for adults 21 and older. It immediately expunged previous marijuana-related convictions from New Yorkers’ records and established a framework for regulating businesses.

The law created the Office of Cannabis Management, which is governed by a Cannabis Control Board similar to the state Liquor Authority under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. The OCM will be responsible for issuing retail licenses and developing additional business regulations.

Cities, towns and villages across the state can decide to opt out of allowing dispensaries by passing a local law by Dec. 31, though municipalities would then forego tax revenue generated from shops within their boundaries.

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(1) comment

elderberry

I think they are smart not to opt out.

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