Canton mulls vaccination for staff

A view looking east into downtown Canton in August. Village trustees are discussing weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated village employees. Christopher Lenney/ Watertown Daily Times

CANTON — The village of Canton will hear public comment on Sept. 22, regarding permitting cannabis sale and consumption.

The hearing was originally planned to be in-person, but due to recent increases in COVID-19 cases, the meeting will be held via Zoom.

A link to the meeting will be posted on the village website, canton.gov, on the day of the meeting.

The village set the hearing at its July meeting.

“I don’t really want to talk about opting out — or anything — until we’ve heard from the community,” Trustee Carol S. Pynchon said when the hearing was scheduled.

Should the village decide to opt out, village residents could petition for a referendum or the village could hold a referendum of its own volition. Otherwise, dispensaries would be allowed to open once the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act’s regulatory mechanisms are further developed.

Signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in March, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act 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.

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.

A total 13% cannabis excise tax will apply when dispensary sales begin, likely next year. The tax breaks down into 1% for the county, 3% for the dispensary’s municipality and 9% for the state.

The 9% state portion will subsidize the Office of Cannabis Management and help cover costs for state agencies to apply the law and adapt to legalization. After administrative costs are covered, the state’s remaining revenue from its 9% share will be split among three state funds: 40% for the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund, 40% for general education through the Lottery Fund and 20% for the Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund.

Written comments can be submitted to the Village Board at mdalton@cantonny.gov or 60 Main St., Canton, N.Y. 13617. To be included in the record of the public meeting, comments must be received in the mayor’s office by 4 p.m. on Sept. 22.

Ellis Giacomelli contributed to this story.

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