Gates Withdraws From Cannabis Retail, Irondequoit Considering Similar Move | New

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Gates officials have approved a law blocking cannabis dispensaries and salons in the city while in Irondequoit officials are considering a measure that would do the same for their city.

In Gates, the decision was unanimous. City supervisor Cosmo Giunta said on Friday there were too many unknowns about the impact of the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), legislation enacted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last March that legalized the adult possession and use of marijuana and exposed a legal retail setting.

“You know it’s not all about tax revenues,” Giunta said. “It’s about ensuring the safety of our residents. And at the moment, we don’t think that’s the best thing for our city.

Under the MRTA, lawmakers have given towns and cities in New York City the ability to refuse to have legal dispensaries and salons within their borders, but they must do so by December 31. Any withdrawal measure would take effect 45 days after its adoption, although during that window any member of the public can submit a petition to vote on the decision.

State officials have said they don’t expect retail marijuana businesses to be allowed to operate until 2023.

The MRTA has put its backs on local governments “up to the wall”, forcing them to decide whether to take action by default and to engage without really knowing how and where these companies will be allowed to operate by the new. New York State. Cannabis Control Board, Giunta said.

“When you look at the (control board), it was just created a month or two ago. And they’re still figuring things out, ”Giunta said. “It’s a bit like putting the cart before the horse. Come back with everything first, then gift it to the cities.

Giunta is not ruling out allowing marijuana businesses in Gates. If the city approves these businesses in the future, they should only be in specific areas, away from schools and places of worship, Giunta said.

The withdrawal, according to Giunta, allows the city to retain its flexibility. He said city leaders will also see what happens in cities that opt.

RELATED: Village of Pittsford Decides to Hold Vote on Hosting Weed Shops

In Irondequoit, things are different. The city council, in a 4: 1 vote at its Oct. 27 meeting, held a public hearing on Nov. 9 on a proposal to remove the city from dispensaries and salons.

The measure was introduced by board member Kimie Romeo and the only vote against scheduling a public hearing on it came from board member Patrina Freeman, who introduced an unsuccessful measure that would have blocked only cannabis bars and lounges.

Freeman argued that the city should use the additional tax revenue it receives from sales at dispensaries to provide the city’s police department with funding to help them deal with issues such as impaired drivers by the use of marijuana.

Board member Pete Wehner would not support Freeman’s motion to consider his proposal, but he said he supports it.

In general, however, council members lamented the position they found themselves in. They argued that the way the state has structured the cannabis legalization opt-out provision hampers their ability to seek public opinion before taking action. The city can only hold public hearings on introduced legislation, and not on general issues.

“It sort of works the reverse of what we’re all used to, but it’s just a matter of procedure at this point,” Romeo said in a brief interview on Friday. “This is the only opportunity we have to get him out and get the public to react.”

If a municipality approves a non-participation law, residents have 45 days to submit a petition forcing a public vote on the law. To be valid, the petition must be signed by a number of inhabitants equal to the number of votes cast by the inhabitants of the municipality during the last election for the post of governor.

James Brown is a reporter for WXXI News, a CITY media partner.

Jeremy Moule is the editor-in-chief of CITY. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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