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CAYUGA COUNTY

Cayuga County town to hold public hearing on marijuana opt-out

Marijuana

A legal recreational cannabis store and sign is visible on a road in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. New York state's recently adopted law legalizing recreational use of marijuana gives municipalities until the end of the year to decide if they will opt out of allowing retail sales within their borders.

A third Cayuga County municipality has made known its plans to opt out of parts of the state's new marijuana law, and will hold a public hearing on the matter next week.

The town of Springport will hold the hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, July 12, at its town hall at 859 Route 326. The subject of the hearing will be the town's Local Law No. 1 for the Year 2021, which would prohibit retail dispensaries and consumption sites for marijuana within the town. The full text of the law is available at the office of the Springport town clerk during normal business hours.

New York state's Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, signed March 31 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, allows municipalities to opt out of those two parts of the law. They cannot opt out of most other parts of the law, which allows people to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana, grow up to six plants at home and use the substance in private and select public spaces.

Springport joins the town of Brutus and the village of Union Springs on the list of county municipalities moving forward to opt out of the two parts of the law. The deadline for doing so is Dec. 31.

Springport Town Supervisor Dave Schenck told The Citizen on Wednesday that the town board decided unanimously to opt out.

"We didn't think it's a positive thing to do for our communities," he said of the state's marijuana law. "We just think the unintended consequences could be additional unsafe communities."

The board, Schenck continued, believes the state law decreases the power of law enforcement to police marijuana abuse and the legal consequences for it, which is "not a good combination" with the legalization of dispensaries and consumption sites. Additionally, Schenck said the town does not have many commercial areas where those businesses could open and generate tax revenue. There are several in the village of Union Springs inside the town, but Springport's opt-out law would not apply to the village. Union Springs is moving forward with its own opt-out law.

With those factors in mind, the town board felt it was prudent to opt out and see how the state's marijuana law affects other municipalities, Schenck said. The town can opt back in at any time.

But first, the board wants to know what the Springport public thinks.

"That's basically why we're having the hearing, to listen to everyone who wishes to weigh in," Schenck said. "Then the board will decide."

Stacy DeForrest, Auburn corporation counsel, provides an overview of the city's legal options regarding recreational marijuana sales that will be allowed in New York state following the recently passed state cannabis law.

Read the full story from News Staff Reporter Aaron Besecker

Read the full story by Tom Precious here.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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I edit The Citizen's features section, Lake Life, and weekly entertainment guide, Go. I've also been writing for The Citizen and auburnpub.com since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

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