Mount Kisco likely to vote against retail marijuana sales

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A selection of recreational medical cannabis in a legal retail store.

Mount Kisco is likely to become the latest municipality to pull out of marijuana retail sales and consumption shows within its borders, continuing a trend among local officials in the area needing more time to assess. the impacts.

In a special working session last week, the four members of the village council present reached a consensus that with the provision of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act allowing municipalities to legalize sales and / or consumption facilities at any time in the future, withdrawal was the best choice for the community.

For local governments deciding to allow dispensaries and consumption sites, they cannot change course.

“We can always re-register at some point in the future, but retiring now gives us a good opportunity to see how things play out for the next period with the relatively new legislation,” Deputy Mayor Anthony Markus said. “I certainly recognize all the pros and cons of this issue, but I prefer to see this unfold over a period of time, it will give us the opportunity to see how this new law works before we make a decision that we can never reverse. in the future.

Mayor Gina Picinich said she has no doubts that at some point retail marijuana sales will be legal in the village, as there is clearly a push for the industry among many citizens. , but there are too many unanswered questions for her to support at this time.

Picinich said the state’s regulatory framework, including the Cannabis Control Board and the Cannabis Management Office, has yet to be established and it is unclear who will be appointed to fill these vacancies.

She also highlighted the problem faced by police officers who do not yet have a breathalyzer test or a definitive method of determining whether a person is considered to be impaired by marijuana, which needs to be determined.

“So I am not yet comfortable authorizing sales in our community when all the parts and parts have not yet been determined by the state, by law enforcement and by all other agencies, ”Picinich said.

Administrator David Squirrell agreed that there are currently too many unknowns for the village to allow sales at this time. However, as chief attorney for the Putnam County Legal Aid Society, he said he was aware of the inequalities that have been caused by the state that previously criminalized marijuana.

Squirrell also urged his fellow board members not to discount the potential for future economic benefits for the village. He recommended that the board consider forming a village working group to study a variety of possible impacts. Membership should include law enforcement, drug treatment professionals, doctors on both sides of the issue, the local business community, parents and residents of the community at large.

“I agree that we should consider opting, but for now, allow time to form a community committee with all the necessary stakeholders so that this can be dealt with in depth so that any future decisions on this can be made with full community participation, ”he said. .

The other council members agreed that a local committee would be beneficial.

Administrator Karen Schleimer said there was nothing to lose for the village to opt out, although she would like to get an estimate of how much income can be generated by signing up.

“You can sign up two days later after your withdrawal,” Schleimer said. “There really is no great loss in waiting and seeing what other people’s decisions are and what their experience is.”

The council has scheduled a public hearing for its next meeting on Monday and may vote to formally step aside at that time.

Other municipalities that have already pulled out include Eastchester, Somers and North Castle. To enable the retail sale of marijuana, a municipality can choose to take no action by the end of the year.

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