Village withdraws with reactivation option

Nicole fuentes

Pursuant to the Marijuana Taxation Act, the Village of Patchogue Board of Directors voted to deny both the authorization of both retail cannabis dispensaries and on-site cannabis consumption establishments and for a modification of the code prohibiting the smoking of cannabis tobacco and similar substances. , until future information is provided by the government.

Under New York State law, cities and towns can refuse to allow adult cannabis retail dispensaries or licenses for on-site consumption from locations under their jurisdiction. However, municipalities cannot opt ​​out of legalizing adult use.

Not all municipalities, according to NYS, are authorized to ban the exploitation or licensing of adult, medical, or cannabinoid hemp. However, they are authorized to pass laws and regulations to govern the time, location and manner of retail dispensaries.

For example, the Cannabis Control Board details: “Cities and towns are authorized to pass laws and regulations regarding local zoning and the location of licensees, hours of operation and compliance with local building codes. Municipalities cannot issue local licenses to cannabis license holders.

To opt out of cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses, a municipality must pass a local law by December 31, 2021. If a municipality has already passed a local law prohibiting the use of such licenses , the municipality will still have to adopt a new local law that complies with the opt-out requirements described in the MRTA.

If a municipality does not withdraw by December 31, 2021, it will not be able to withdraw at a later date. However, a municipality can choose to come back, allow one or both uses by repealing the local law that established the ban, the New York state website reads.

The board withdraws

The board of directors voted the withdrawal with 4 votes to 2 and another vote with four votes against, one abstention and one for, in order to allow the consumption of marijuana on the spot.

Village attorney Brian Egan prefaced the public hearing held on Tuesday, September 28, with the fact that New York State has already legalized the use and possession of marijuana and that the discussion should not relate to those who were for or against use.

According to Egan, if enabled, state sales tax is 13% on sales of marijuana, of which 4% goes to the local level split between county, town and city. The village would end up with around 1.5% of income. So far, most cities on Long Island have chosen not to participate, including Shelter Island, Smithtown, Garden City and Freeport, while Riverhead has chosen to participate.

The concern on the board was to step aside in an effort to allow state authority to determine the details of how and where permits will be granted.

“The question tonight is whether we want to wait for more clarity on zoning, or do we just want to allow it by default,” Egan said ahead of the vote, addressing the board.

Director Joseph Keyes then proposed to split the vote between the two decisions. He voted for membership, as did administrator Patrick McHeffey. However, the rest of the board voted to step down.

A handful of residents spoke out mainly in favor of allowing the sale of cannabis in stores, with some expressing concern over consumption on site and on the streets.

Resident Andrea Stolz has claimed registration is in the best interests of residents who may be using marijuana for health reasons. Another resident, Katherine Becker, suggested taking the opportunity before another municipality does.

“I am not against people who use cannabis,” said resident Chris Vittorio. “I just don’t want to see people using it in public, not on Main Street smoking weed. It looks bad, in my opinion.

Grand Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy also spoke, suggesting the village chooses to be ahead of the curve.

“It’s an opportunity,” he said, also explaining that he understands the board’s decision to wait for more advice.

Board members against opt-in

After the vote, directors Sal Felice and Susan Brinkman wrote down their reasoning for stepping down at this point.

“There are just too many unknowns,” Felice said. “It does not suit me. This is something that should be presented and explained perfectly before we agree on anything.

“I agree with that,” Brinkman added.

In his absence, Mayor Paul Pontieri expressed his concerns in a detailed letter. He listed his first reason as being the inability to opt out if they decide to enroll immediately; second, the legislation has not yet been “fully approved”: third, the money earned by opting is 1% of unspecified income.

“This administration, after 17 years of hard work, does not remember the $ 600 million investment, but this one vote,” he wrote.

Members of the board of directors for registration

Administrator Joseph Keyes, who voted to go for the sale portion of the vote, said he believes Patchogue has always made decisions with a degree of uncertainty with bold decisions.

“We have to keep pace. It happens and I don’t see it as something we have to fear, ”he explained. “We made big investments and major investments without any guarantee of results, but we were ready to take the leap of faith. It should not be stigmatized; those days are over.

Administrator Patrick McHeffey, who voted in favor of both decisions, agreed.

“I thought that allowing sales within the village would have allowed us to see when, where and how we, as a community, participate in this new sector of the economy, while simultaneously allowing ourselves to benefit from the associated social and economic equity. impacts, ”he said, while ultimately stating that the board decided it was in the best interest of the village to step aside. “I believe in a heated debate on such important issues, but at the end of the day we are all in the same boat and I support the decision of the board. “

CBD companies urge to register

Organically Connected is a CBD and medical cannabis dispensary that sells gummy candies, CBD smoking items as well as lotions, shampoos and more. It also offers kombucha as well as rental scooters to cross the main street.

Owner Kevin McKail attended the public hearing in favor of membership. The move, he said, would help grow his business, which opened on Railroad Avenue in Patchogue about three years ago.

Many customers, he explained, need THC for more potent and potent medical use. Allowing the sale of marijuana in its entirety is a natural progression for his business, he said.

“I am in favor of the approval,” he said. “It’s still a natural medicine.”

However, he said his site was not a smokehouse and that he preferred it to remain so to keep business running and his consumers’ privacy to be preserved.

“It’s the same way you would go to a drugstore,” he added.

Don’t smoke too

Under the regulations of the Clean Air Act, explained village attorney Brian Egan, cannabis has been included in the ban on smoking in closed areas. The Patchogue Village code also prohibits smoking within 50 feet of a government, library, or school.

Due to the need to clean up the code to also ban cannabis, the council also sought to add wording prohibiting smoking of any type on the sidewalks of Main Street as well as in the village hall and parks.

Concerned about the proposal, Grand Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy said he believed many restaurants could encounter angry customers who regularly smoke outside.

According to Kennedy, he doesn’t necessarily disagree with the proposal, but rather felt it needed to be discussed more transparently with restaurateurs.

The head of the restaurant committee, James Bonanno, was unaware of the proposal. The committee plans to discuss the matter at the next meeting in mid-October.

However, Village Idiot owner John Sarno spoke out against the proposal, saying it was just another ban. If it’s legal, he said, people should be allowed to smoke. However, he felt that it was the individual’s responsibility to do so with respect, for marijuana, cigars and cigarettes.

“What else are we going to ban? He asked, also asking who will apply it.

Mayor Paul Pontieri addressed the difficulty of the application and explained that the discussion must take place to find a solution.

“I am neither for nor against; we just have to find our responsibility for enforcement, ”he said, saying the government decided to legalize marijuana without finding a regulatory solution, a responsibility that falls on local municipalities.

As for cigarettes, the ban should cover both cigarettes and sidewalk marijuana.

“It’s going to be very difficult to apply at all levels,” he added.

The proposal was adjourned at the request of the chamber to garner consensus from main street businesses.

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