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November 18, 2021 - 10:39am

Taking a 'wait-and-see' approach, Le Roy Village Board votes to opt out of hosting cannabis sites

The Le Roy Village Board is taking a “better safe than sorry” approach to New York State’s new law that allows communities to host retail dispensaries and on-site consumption locations of marijuana.

The board, at its meeting Wednesday night, held a public hearing on the topic before passing a resolution to adopt Local Law No. 6 of 2021, which allows the village to opt out of those businesses.

Municipalities such as the Village of Le Roy are required by the New York Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act to state their intentions by Dec. 31. Towns, cities and villages that opt out can always opt in at a later date, but those that opt in, can never opt out.

“There’s no urgency,” said Trustee Ray Yacuzzo. “Let’s be careful about this.”

Fellow board member Richard Tetrault suggested giving it a year to see how the situation plays out in neighboring communities to prevent someone coming in without the village having any say in the matter.

Residents in attendance pointed out the number of empty storefronts on Main Street, asking, “Why not keep that money here?”

Mayor Greg Rogers noted that the law states that cannabis dispensaries and consumption sites can't be within 500 feet of schools or churches and, “unfortunately, many Main Street shops are too close.”

Town Councilman Ron Pangrazio then presented a map of the Main Street area, adding that “Main Street is totally out.”

Rogers did say that other places in the village may be available, a sentiment echoed by Trustee Bill Kettle, who said, “There’s more to Le Roy than just two blocks (Main Street).”

Another comment from the audience focused on the fact that cannabis store owners are prohibited from depositing cash from sales into a federal bank, opening the door for an increase in robberies. That was rebutted by someone who mentioned that data shows that crime has not increased in areas that allow it.

The board’s action, per Cannabis Law Section 131 and Municipal Home Rule Law Section 24, can be challenged by a permissive referendum by the voters.

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