Town of Cortlandville opts out of marijuana-based dispensaries, on-site consumption establishments (video included)

Cortlandville Town Board voted to opt out of allowing marijuana-based dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments. (Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith/Cortland Voice).

The Cortlandville Town Board voted to opt out of allowing marijuana-based dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments at its meeting on Wednesday.

The town’s local law was voted in two parts: 4-1 in favor to opt out of dispensaries (town board member Doug Withey voting against it), and 5-0 in favor of prohibiting consumption sites.

In March, New York state legalized the recreational use and growth of marijuana for adults 21 or older. State legislation is giving municipalities until Dec. 31 of this year to opt out of either of dispensaries and consumption sites. 

If municipalities don’t take action, both are automatically legal in their respective areas. If municipalities opt out before the deadline, opting back in is an option in the future.

“If down the road there’s a huge, huge demand for it and people come knocking on the door, we can opt back in,” town board member Jeff Guido said.

Withey noted community members have said they are in favor of dispensaries and consumption sites in the area. Residents have also mentioned to Withey that if the town opted out, it forces people to spend money in other municipalities of Cortland County — and surrounding counties.

“There’s probably some truth to that,” Withey said.

Town attorney John DelVecchio noted if Cortlandville considers opting in “down the road,” the town could collect economic data from other towns and cities who have opted in.

“This would allow you to see if it’s economically viable to opt back in,” he said.

DelVecchio also mentioned if Cortlandville chooses to opt in later on, state legislation allows municipalities to regulate where dispensaries and consumption sites can be located.

“This would give the town a chance to calibrate and reassess zoning if opting in is considered in the future,” he added.

Before the town board casted its votes, town supervisor Tom Williams noted he was going to vote to prohibit dispensaries and consumption sites. This was due to his experience as a state trooper dealing with drug abuse and that federal laws are still in effect against the recreational use of marijuana.

Here is a video of the Cortlandville Town Board’s discussion on marijuana-based dispensaries and consumption sites, and the casting of votes for each part: