Several towns and villages in the state of New York are still grappling on whether or not to allow marijuana.
Council members in Colonie, a town in the Capital Region, have voted to ban marijuana consumption sites within their district. This includes smoking lounges, cafes, and any businesses that allow marijuana to be consumed on premises.
Colonie will still allow for recreational retail stores within town limits.
According to Melissa Jeffers, a Colonie town councilwoman, the vote mainly boiled down to concern that people might smoke at one of these consumption sites and then drive home.
“Without having appropriate mechanisms to test an individual’s level, like with drinking while driving we have breathalyzers, we just don’t have that technology,” Jeffers explained to Ny1. “And it’s a lot of pressure to put on our law enforcement.”
The deadline to decide if local government officials want consumption sites or recreational marijuana retail stores within their town limits is December 31st.
Numerous Republican lawmakers are in favor of extending the deadline, including Assemblyman Josh Jensen who has said, “I’m concerned that in typical New York state fashion, we’re going to have the Control Board set up, they’re going to determine all these regulations that are going to be done in secret, without public buy in, without the public being involved. Then it’s going to be presented and we’re going to have to take time to figure out what those things are.”
Recreational marijuana sales are still not expected until most likely 2022.
Assemblyman John McDonald has concerns that with a delayed deadline, it would also delay the launch of the weed market in the state.
“I don’t know if delaying it will do us any good because, quite frankly, I think that slows down the process,” McDonald said. “The reality is, the legislature, with the support of the public, has made a very informed decision that adult use marijuana is something we want to see in New York state.”
“We’re going to have to take a look at some of our zoning and variance laws, there’s going to be a lot of technicalities to actually get this process rolled out,” Jeffers explained. “So I think once that guidance starts coming down from New York State, we’ll be able to take a closer and more effective look at what that could look like if it was allowed and maybe make a decision at that time.”