Village of Marathon to consider opting in marijuana act

(Photo by Kaitlyn Hession).

Village of Marathon officials discussed recently the possibility of participating in New York’s cannabis market.

At a village board of trustees meeting, officials noted the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) could bring valuable sales tax revenue to the county. Municipalities like the Village of Marathon that decided to opt out of the state’s legal market last year are not eligible to receive any of the revenue generated from adult-use marijuana sales. MRTA establishes a 13 percent tax on adult-use marijuana sales, 4 percent of which is split between the county (25 percent) and municipalities (75 percent), according to the bill.

“We may want to revisit that and opt back in,” said Mayor Scott Chamberlin. “I think it’s a pretty safe bet there are going to be two dispensaries in the county. Marathon is not gonna get one.”

Chamberlin referred to the possibility of having a dispensary in Cortland and one in Homer.

Although sales tax revenue is an important pillar of the MRTA and the state’s legalization of the marijuana market, Chamberlin claims the board did not know of the potential influx in funds that could come from opting into the MRTA when they made the decision to stay out of it.

“We didn’t know that when we had our hearing where we decided we were going to be excluded from that,” he said. “That revenue was never even a topic of discussion.”

Board member Ralph Canfield, a former Cortland County treasurer, brought on some humor about the potential revenue.

“We’d miss out on $25 a year,” he said. It is unclear if Canfield has calculated the potential tax influx that could come from the MRTA.

The village had two hearings last fall; one was to prohibit licenses to establish cannabis dispensaries. The other one was to prevent on-site consumption at lounges that sell marijuana products. 

“We could opt back in for the dispensaries and not opt in for consumption lounges,” Chamberlin said.

Chamberlin said he will do more research on the subject and bring the item back at an upcoming board meeting.