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BREAKING: Batavia Town Board votes to opt out of cannabis retail dispensaries, consumption sites

By Mike Pettinella

The Batavia Town Board tonight, by a 3-2 tally, voted in favor of a local law to opt out of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption sites in the town, likely triggering a public referendum to gauge the municipality's pulse regarding the New York's Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act.

At their monthly meeting at the Town Hall of West Main Street Road, Council members Sharon White, Patti Michalak and Supervisor Greg Post voted for the resolution passing Local Law No. 7 of 2021 to opt out, while Chad Zambito and Dan Underhill voted against the resolution (and to opt in).

Kelly March of Clinton Street Road, (photo at right), appearing before the board for the second straight meeting to voice her support for the cannabis legislation, said she was "disappointed" in the outcome but vowed to press on through the permissive referendum process.

"I'm pretty disappointed, but I knew ahead of time they were not going to be passing it," she said. "But I wanted them to be able to look me in the eye and not pass it."

Asked what's next, she said, "We're going to do the referendum. We're going to work with the town board. We knew ahead of time that that would be the case, and they're very willing to work with us ... to help us through the process to that."

March said there is a broad base of support throughout the town and even to the tri-county area for the reformed marijuana laws that would ensure safe, high quality cannabis. She added that she was disappointed that some of the farming community "is not supportive of farmers, essentially."

As far as the referendum is concerned, she said that she is "going to do my homework" to get some legal advice.

"And we do have lawyers that are working with a lot of other towns and villages, you know, constituents that are doing the same thing we are right now. So, I'm very confident that you will have good guidance and people to work with," she said. "We've seen a really good uptake in people opening up and talking about cannabis now."

March said she had hoped to meet with Post prior to tonight's meeting, but that didn't happen due to scheduling conflicts. She said that Penelope Hamilton Crescibene, who also was at the Nov. 17 public hearing on the MRTA, did get answers to questions regarding taxation and banking, "which were grave concern to them."

Post did address March tonight following her brief statement that urged board members to consider her opinion when they voted on the resolution.

"I want you to know that you were heard," he said. "Regardless of our vote, this is in the hands of the people."

On another front, the board voted to extend the town's moratorium on solar energy systems for another six months as a special solar committee completes its work.

A public meeting on the town's revised solar guidelines is scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 29 at the Town Hall, immediately following a special town board meeting at 5 p.m.

Previously: Two advocates speak out about opting in for cannabis dispensaries

david spaulding

The city of Batavia is opt in, so you go in the city and partake, Corfu, Pembroke, Darien are opt in. What is the big deal ? I smile and wave, sitting here on this sack of seeds.

Dec 17, 2021, 10:48am Permalink

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