On October 4, Cazenovia City Council passed local law banning the establishment and operation of retail cannabis pharmacies and local cannabis users within the city limits.
New York State’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which went into effect March 31, 2021, allows cities, towns, and villages – but not counties – to decide whether or not to allow entities within their jurisdiction to sell cannabis products and / or allow cannabis use on site. However, you cannot prohibit possession or use in general.
To opt out, a parish must pass local law on or before December 31, 2021 that is subject to a permissive referendum.
“If the board would accept this [opt-out] According to the law, it is designed in such a way that it can only be approved by way of a permissive referendum, ”said City Prosecutor John Langey. “If this is accepted this evening or in the future, we need to publish a summary of this action in the newspaper. Then a petition can be accepted and tabled, and if there are enough signatures it would go to the public vote. At that point, the majority of the people who would vote in this referendum would, depending on the vote, determine the question. “
If a municipality unsubscribes, it can unsubscribe at any time, but if it does not unsubscribe by the end of the year, there will be no later opt-out.
“We have two options,” explained Town Supervisor Bill Zupan. “We couldn’t do anything, and that would lead us to have on-site supplies and pharmacies in the town of Cazenovia – the only location currently designated for this is Main Street, New Woodstock. If we don’t do anything, we’re there forever. If we opt out this year, we can sign up again at any time if we get zoning laws [establish on-site consumption facilities and dispensaries] on Route 20 or something like that. . . But New York State is not expected to put any rules and regulations into effect until the fall of 2022. “
Before making its decision, the board opened a public hearing on the proposed local law, in which Cazenovia-based Mark Braiman spoke out against the opt-out.
“I understand that cannabis sales in the city of Cazenovia can still be prosecuted if that opt-out expires,” he said. “I think it’s a safe place when there are places people can buy this [legally] . . . This is a situation where the negative effects of criminalization far outweigh the negative effects of consumption. This is one of the most benign drugs known to mankind. The number of deaths directly caused by cannabis use is far fewer than that from alcohol use, and we allow alcohol use in many facilities. We allow the sale and production of alcohol throughout the city of Cazenovia; In fact, we’ve been promoting them for the past decade or two. . . I firmly believe that if we allow this as a process and make it clear that we will enter the 21st century along with the rest of New York State, it will be an important signal. ”
Braiman also commented that he believes the presence of official pharmacies would increase the safety and reliability of the cannabis available to those who are interested.
“A licensed dealer would be much less likely to sell something of unknown quality, strength, or purity,” he said.
Upon receipt of Braiman’s contributions, the board passed the local law by four to one votes.
Zupan and councilors Patrick Race, Kristi Andersen and Kyle Reger voted for the local law.
Andersen commented that she was torn on the subject.
“Although I’ve talked to Jimmy a lot about it, and [I know] My brother, who recently died, benefited from medical marijuana. I think the state is responding because it hasn’t legislated or regulated it very well, ”she said. “I think if we wait a little we could decide where and under what conditions we want either pharmacies or on-site consumption, and we can [opt] in.”
Race also said he wasn’t necessarily against pharmacies or on-site consumption facilities, but was okay with Andersen.
“Jumping your head in first and then leaving it to the state is a bad idea in my opinion,” he said.
Zupan and Reger both said they believe it is in the city’s best interests to wait for additional information and state rules and regulations before deciding to participate.
“I’m ready to look at this in another year or something, come back and say, ‘Okay, I’m ready to sign up,'” Zupan said. “But at this point I can’t.”
Alderman Jimmy Golub voted against the passing of the opt-out law.
Golub stated that regardless of whether the city got in or out, cannabis would still be accessible.
“There are cities nearby that choose to do it,” he said. “Anyone who wanted it when it was illegal had many ways to access it, and certainly if it is legal and there are pharmacies – even if they are not in our town – they will have access.”
He also shared Braiman’s opinion that pharmacies can help with quality control.
“If you buy it from a drug dealer, you don’t know if it’s flavored, you don’t know how pure it is,” he said. “[When substances are controlled,] we’re pretty good at it. If you buy alcohol from the liquor store, no one has been blind from alcohol lately. I think the quality control would be better from the state than the mob. This is not about whether cannabis is good; We are currently selling many products that are harmful. So in my opinion there is no need to wait. The ban is over; It’s a legal product. I don’t know if there is any other legal product that we will single out. “
In other news
Race read out a proclamation in recognition of the departure of Highway Superintendent Dean Slocum who had served the city for the past 10 years (four as Highway Superintendent).
The proclamation recognized Slocum’s wisdom, knowledge and commitment to his position and highlighted his many contributions to his department, the city and its citizens.
“Dean will not only leave a gap at the motorway office, he will also be missed a lot by the employees in the town hall, as the tasks of both locations are often integrated,” said Race. “Whenever he was asked to do a job, to do a task, or to follow up with a voter, Dean was there. Never one to quit a job for later, we knew it was done right. “
The board voted to continue its public hearing regarding TJA Clean Energy, LLC and TJA-NY-Barrett Rd New Woodstock, LLC’s motion for exemption from a local law (passed June 14, 2021) that imposes a 12-month moratorium for all imposed applications for the construction and location of new commercial solar power plants in the city of Cazenovia.
Before the moratorium began, the Cazenovia City Board of Appeal and the Cazenovia City Planning Authority approved applications for a special use permit or “a commercial 5 megawatt solar array on the Lucas property at 2405 Barrett Road, New Woodstock.
Recently, the applicant, TJA Clean Energy, reached out to the city with a request to amend and amend their previous permits as the materials required to build the project as approved were not available.
In order to be able to make changes to the special use permit and the site plan, the city must offer the applicant an exemption from the moratorium.
Following a presentation by Michael Frateschi, PE, Project Development Engineer and Manager at TJA Clean Energy, and Attorney Andrew Leja of Barclay Damon, LLP, the board received questions and comments from local residents, including several people who spoke out against receiving the aid.
The board of directors will continue the public hearing on Monday, October 18, at 7 p.m. in the town hall.
The city council of Cazenovia usually meets every second Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit towncazenovia.digitaltowpath.org or call the city office at 315-655-9213.