North Elba City Council delays hashish vote | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

LAKE PLACID – The North Elba City Council postponed the decision on cannabis pharmacies and licenses for local use during its regular session on Tuesday. Instead, the board has scheduled a special meeting this Friday to vote on its cannabis laws.

Recreational marijuana was legalized nationwide in March, and local governments have until December 31 to pass local laws prohibiting pharmacy licensing and / or licensing of local use within their borders. If the local governments do not deregister by December 31st, their parish will be automatically activated.

City council tabled its vote on the proposed opt-out laws after board members decided they needed more advice from City Attorney Ron Briggs on opt-out procedures. The board is expected to vote on the laws on Friday at 10 a.m. during a special meeting in the town hall of North Elba. Anyone can attend the meeting in person or online via GoToMeeting at https://www.gotomeet.me/townofnorthelba/board-meeting.

Public hearings

The council held a public hearing on its opt-out laws at 5 p.m. Tuesday, an hour before the scheduled 6 p.m. board meeting. More than 40 people attended the hearings online and in person, and at least 15 of those people spoke. The hearings lasted an hour.

Public support for the opt-out was diverse. People who supported the opt-in laws or voted against the opt-out laws talked about the taxes that could bring the city, regulating cannabis quality and who can buy cannabis products, saying there are pharmacies and supermarkets on site would offer a variety of products – not just products that are smoked – that can benefit people’s health.

A 13% tax is levied on cannabis sales. Of this, 9% goes to the state, 3% to the local government where the sale took place, and 1% to the county where that local government is located.

Brendan Donovan, from North Elba, said that much like restaurants selling alcoholic beverages are bringing revenue to the city, the city should think about the additional income from local restaurants that could serve cannabis with food with on-site licenses to consume.

Donovan said he believed that selling pharmacies would keep cannabis tax revenue local, and he said regulating cannabis would help keep it out of the reach of children.

“When I was 18 and 19, it was a lot easier for me to buy weed than it was to get alcohol.” he said. “I think it’s easier when we know who in town is buying it and who is selling it.”

Individuals calling on the board to refuse pharmacy approval and licensing of on-site use raised concerns about the novelty of the state’s legalization and legislation on recreational cannabis, the impact they believe pharmacies and on-site use will have on the local youth and their belief that the board should log out so people can vote on the laws and have the final say.

Local laws that deny approval of cannabis dispensaries and licenses for on-site use are subject to a permissive referendum. While villages can opt out and pass a resolution to pass the laws, cities must wait for residents to petition to pass the laws. If enough residents sign a petition – at least 10% of residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election – the laws can appear on the next round of general election.

Essex County’s Board of Elections Republican commissioner, Allison McGahay, who lives in Lake Placid, said she found it regrettable that the state’s cannabis legislation only gives cities a one-time opt-out option. She said she was ready to use her position as election officer to help people start a petition.

“If the city decides to opt out and let us vote, I’ll have the language for a petition.” She said. “I can help you. We can put this on the November vote and … I’m here to offer my help to whatever you need.”

round table

Council members took turns sharing their thoughts on opt-out laws once the board meeting began.

Councilor Emily Politi said she thinks if cannabis is regulated it will be safer. She said pharmacies would diversify the economy – not just increase revenue from cannabis sales – and benefit the local tourism economy. She said she believes most marijuana prohibition laws are based on racism and prejudice, and she respects the state for them “Trying to make amends” by legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis.

“That weighs on my decision when I think about it.” She said. “When I think of people saying, ‘We don’t want it here’ – well, what don’t you want here?”

Politi added that she doesn’t believe anyone has ever died from a weed overdose. At the end of their comments, some of those present at the board meeting gave a brief applause.

Alderman Dick Cummings told Politi that she did “Took a lot (his) thunder” and agreed that the city would be better off with regulated cannabis. He said he had been to a couple of pharmacies and thought they were professionally run, controlled atmospheres. He added that many people benefit medically from THC and that pharmacies are not just selling products for smoking. The income from cannabis sales could go into the “Bigger good”, he said, and he disagreed with people who said pharmacies repel tourists.

“I guess you hit almost every point that I wanted to address.” That’s what Alderman Derek Doty said to Politi and Cummings.

Doty said he had concerns about the permissive referendum if the board were to leave.

“I worry that the entire electorate is not as well informed during the process as the people sitting around this table doing our homework to make the best decision.” he said. “We have heard good things from both sides – if you think we are all set our own way, it is not the truth. I am proud of this body and we have the ability to be wise enough to make this decision. “

He added that he didn’t like people trying to draw the line between legal adult cannabis use and illegal teenage cannabis use.

Councilor Jack Favro said he thought North Elba would “Survive” excluding the revenue the city would make from cannabis sales, and he said cannabis legislation has some problems, citing the fact that villages can force a public vote on opt-out laws while cities respond to petitioning have to wait. He said he thought North Elba would eventually end up with pharmacies and that he would log out to give the board time to educate the public with information about cannabis.

Mayor Jay Rand said he had made his thoughts on the opt-out clear – he specifically stated that he did not want pharmacies or licenses for on-site use in the city – and he also believes that the cannabis laws of the State needs to be more elaborated.

“Why should we get involved in something that only gives us more time to make better decisions when we reject ourselves?” said Rand. “Plus you’ll have another board here in two weeks.”

Jason Leon and Rick Preston were elected to North Elba City Council in November to replace Favro and Doty councilors in January, when Doty replaces Rand as supervisor. Tuesday was supposed to be the final city council meeting for Rand and Favro.

Stalemate

Rand and Favro made and supported a motion to refuse approval of pharmacies, but further discussion halted the vote.

Doty asked the board members if they thought they should accept the idea of ​​a petition for the public to vote on the laws. Cummings said he believed the board had done their due diligence as an elected official by investigating the issues.

The board discussed the logistics of the permissive referendum process. Briggs told the board that the board could still repeal the opt-out laws after the election if the laws come to a vote and the public vote supports the opt-out. If the public vote backed the repeal of the opt-out laws, which means the public voted to sign up and allow pharmacies and on-site consumption licenses, the board could not step down as December 31st was the one-time opt -out deadline is.

When asked if the board could sign up once a petition was filed but before the general election, Briggs said it was not sure. Politi said she might consider opting out in order to have a few more months to review zoning issues, but she wanted to know if a petition tabled would tie the board’s hands. Briggs said it would investigate this issue for the board, and the board decided to hold a special session at 10 a.m. on Friday to vote on the laws.

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