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Village officials mixed on marijuana dispensary opt-out option

LAKE PLACID — On the topic of whether to opt-out of allowing the sale of marijuana in Lake Placid, village officials are mixed.

The new state law legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 years old and over includes a provision that allows towns, villages and cities to ban dispensaries, decline to offer on-site consumption licenses to businesses and impose civil fines for violations, although consumption of cannabis will still be legal.

“We have not had a public discussion yet,” Mayor Art Devlin said Monday, April 5, when asked about the topic during the village board meeting. “I don’t have a position on that yet. I’d like to speak with legal counsel and our chief of police.”

Trustee Jackie Kelly agreed.

“I’d like to hear more from other board members and talk to the chief of police before I form an opinion,” she said.

Trustee Marc Galvin expressed concern about public marijuana consumption on Main Street, noting that there’s already an issue with controlling violations of the open container law on Main Street.

Trustee Jason Leon was conflicted.

“As a teacher, there’s a part of me that wants to be very diligent about maintaining our family-friendly community, while at the same time recognizing people’s individual rights,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenging discussion for me.”

Trustee Peter Holdereid was firm in his response.

“I’ll do anything possible to not have people smoking a bong on Main Street,” he said.

Legal marijuana isn’t expected to arrive in a retail setting until at least 2022, but local governments have until the end of the year to decide whether to adopt a law banning dispensaries and on-site consumption licenses.

Opting out would mean not collecting tax revenue from marijuana sales. For the state, legalizing recreational marijuana is expected to translate to more than $350 million in tax revenue annually. Sales will be taxed at 13% in New York — 9% going to the state, 3% of to the local government where the sale took place provided that government didn’t opt-out, and 1% to the county. There will also be a tax imposed based on a product’s THC content.