towns of Mass. rake in cannabis dollars | Greene County

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CATSKILL – Over three fiscal years, the town of Great Barrington, Mass., Has garnered more than $ 6.7 million in tax revenue and community impact fees from cannabis sales, said the chief financial officer of the city to the Select Board on August 23.

According to the US Census Bureau, Great Barrington has a population of just under 7,000.

The town of Lee, Massachusetts opened its first cannabis retailer in 2019, and in its first year of operation, it generated more than $ 494,000 for the town, or 3% of its sales, has declared the COO to city council in July 2020.

A cannabis dispensary that opened in Massachusetts generates a lot of income for the locality, said Nancy Poylo, administrator of the village of Athens.

“If you look at Great Barrington and see what this store has done for downtown Great Barrington, it’s amazing,” Poylo said. “It has brought such an influx of people – there are more people shopping, eating, eating.”

The village of Athens has set up a committee to review the decision.

Catskill City Council plans to hold a public meeting to discuss the option of allowing or opting out of marijuana sales.

The city must make a decision by the end of the year, Supervisor Dale Finch said at the board meeting on Tuesday.

Former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law on March 31 legalizing recreational cannabis for adults. There will be a 9% excise tax on marijuana sales and a 4% local tax. The counties will receive 25% of the local tax revenue and 75% will go to the city, town or village.

Municipalities can refuse to authorize sites selling cannabis. The deadline to withdraw is December 31.

To refuse to authorize adult cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses, a municipality must enact a local law by the December deadline.

If a municipality does not withdraw by the December deadline, it will not be able to withdraw in the future, but any municipality that withdraws before the December deadline can withdraw at any time to authorize dispensaries or consumer licenses next door. by repealing the local law that established the ban.

Under state law, county governments are not allowed to opt out. Only towns, cities and towns can.

The law also allows voters in a municipality to seek approval or otherwise of the local law.

Finch said he didn’t think the city would see a lot of money by authorizing dispensaries.

“You’re going to get 3% of sales… you still have to make a million sales to get $ 30,000,” Finch said.

The move to legalize adult-use marijuana is expected to generate an additional $ 350 million in taxes per year and could potentially create 30,000 to 60,000 jobs statewide, according to the governor’s office.

City Councilor Jared Giordiano said the ability to collect taxes is rare.

“This is the only chance we have to get money where the county doesn’t keep it,” he said.

For some municipalities planning to move, allowing it does not guarantee additional income.

“It will all depend if we allow it, there must be a business that wants to set up in the village,” said Joshua Lipsman, the administrator of the village of Athens. “If they don’t settle in the village, there is no money. If they do, it will depend on the amount of business they are doing.

Kinderhook Town supervisor Patsy Leader said in July that some city council members had mentioned the issue in passing, but the issue of opting out of sales had not been brought to city council. She said she would be willing to discuss it with the board.

“I’m not sure if there is anyone willing to come here and do business in the town of Kinderhook, but I would hate to miss out on sales tax revenue because it helps the town and helps us to take care of our infrastructure, so I would hate to lose that, ”Leader said.

Finch was concerned about bringing more drugs to the twin counties as there are many addiction issues and recovery centers in the area. But City Councilor Dawn Scannapieco said marijuana is different.

“I don’t know if they’re trying to keep people away from marijuana,” Scannapieco said. “They’re probably trying to keep people away from heroin and alcohol, which is legal.”

If the city decides to pull out, Finch said it could always register later, but once people start setting up businesses, it would be difficult to change.

With the new law, Finch said he didn’t think marijuana would be in short supply.

“I think anyone in Catskill who wants marijuana is going to have it,” he said.

Scannapieco said dispensaries would provide a safer way to get marijuana.

Finch said it would be best to let the community weigh in.

“I think I have an in-person (hearing) but give people a chance to voice their opinion, especially if we’re considering opting out – I think that’s good. It’s good anyway, people should let you know what their opinions are, ”he said.

A date for a public meeting or hearing has not been set, the city clerk said.

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