G’ville weighs cannabis outlets

The town of Greenville has set up a committee to determine whether the town should permit adult-use cannabis dispensaries or opt out. Courtesy of Tribune News Service

GREENVILLE — The town board Monday created a committee to consider whether the town should opt out of permitting marijuana dispensaries.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation March 31 legalizing recreational adult-use cannabis.

The bill created a two-tier licensing structure and a taxing system on retail cannabis sales.

There will be a 9% state excise tax imposed on marijuana sales and a 4% local tax. Counties will receive 25% of the local tax revenue and 75% will go to the city, town or village, according to the legislation.

Municipalities may opt out of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries where marijuana would be sold. The deadline to opt out is Dec. 31; the state does not permit communities to opt out of adult-use legalization of cannabis.

The town board formed a six-member committee to consider the issue.

“I want to set up a committee of two town board members, two planning board members, two ZBA (zoning board of appeals) members and possibly the town attorney to look at the feasibility of a marijuana dispensary in the town of Greenville,” Town Supervisor Paul Macko said Monday.

Town councilmen Richard Bear and John Bensen volunteered to serve on the committee representing the town board. Also sitting on the committee will be planning board members Don Teator and William Bardel, and zoning board of appeals members Tom Vance and John Ingalls.

The resolution did not appoint town attorney Tal Rappleyea to the committee.

The committee is tasked with deciding whether the town should opt out. If the town takes no action by Dec. 31, cannabis dispensaries would automatically be permitted in the town.

“If it’s something we don’t want to do, or if we decide we want to do it, we have to come up with a plan,” Macko said.

Bensen said Wednesday the committee’s first task will be to analyze what the law entails.

“We have to look at what the state has to say about the requirements,” Bensen said. “We haven’t met yet so I can’t really tell yet.”

Bensen would not commit to a viewpoint on the issue at this time, saying the committee has not even held its first meeting, but he expressed skepticism.

“I’m not really enthused about it,” Bensen said. “Anything to do with the state, there is always a catch. But without looking at all the rules and regulations, I can’t really make a determination yet.”

The first meeting date of the committee has not been scheduled. A public hearing will likely be held before a final decision is made on the issue, Bensen said.

The town has not been contacted by any prospective businesses looking to open a cannabis dispensary, Bensen said.

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

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