Letter to the Editor: Pleasant Valley needs to examine marijuana options

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Dear Editor:

On March 31, 2021, New York joined 15 states and Washington, DC, in legalizing the recreational use of cannabis for adults over the age of 21.

Although possessing, smoking, cultivating, and distributing marijuana is legal in New York, MRTA gives municipalities the ability to prohibit retail sales and on-site consumption sites within their borders.

Pleasant Valley needs time to figure out the zoning and land-use issues associated with selling, cultivating, processing, and distributing marijuana, and how to regulate licenses over which it has discretion. Doing so should involve a broad spectrum of town residents.

The Town should therefore adopt 2 local laws before December 31, 2021, the deadline to do so:

(1) Opt-out of licensing retail sales, and

(2) Opt-out of on-site consumption sites within its borders.

The Town can repeal such prohibition at any time in the future.  In addition, the Town should consider any revenue benefits of retail sales.

Cannabis products will be subject to a 13% sales tax.  Of that, 9% goes to NYS; 4% to localities; (1% to the county, 3% to the town).  So, $1,000,000 of retail sales in Pleasant Valley would put $30,000 into the Town coffers.

Recreational marijuana will join New York’s medical marijuana and cannabinoid hemp programs and will be controlled by a Cannabis Control Board (CCB). The 5-member Board, appointed by the governor and NYS legislature, is charged with implementing and regulating the state’s cannabis industry from scratch. In addition, the CCB will oversee an Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).  The OCM will be an independent part of the NYS Liquor Authority and will be responsible for administration of the cannabis business.

Exactly how the new law will play out in Pleasant Valley is still an open question; however, a number of communities in Massachusetts have approved cannabis sales and cultivation. By looking into what is working, we may be able to preview what to expect from land use and development once regulations and licenses are put in place.

 

Suzanne Horn
Pleasant Valley, NY

The views expressed in the letter are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Mid Hudson News.