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Town of Lowville considers opting out of recreational marijuana sales

Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 5:26 PM EDT
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TOWN OF LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s a proposal to keep the sales of recreational marijuana out of a town in Lewis County. Town officials say they are putting their foot down and don’t agree with the decision that came from lawmakers in Albany.

Lowville Town Supervisor Randy Schell says the town is proposing a local law to opt out of allowing marijuana dispensaries and on-site consumption in local businesses inside of town limits.

“This is the only opportunity we have to sort of mitigate some of the impacts of the law,” he said.

When marijuana was legalized in March, the state gave local municipalities the option to do this. Schell says the town board doesn’t agree with the state’s decision to legalize and felt this was the best way to show it.

“This was one way that we could say, you know, sort of put our foot down and say that we aren’t going to go along with that trend,” he said.

However, while the law would prohibit dispensaries and consumption at local businesses in the town, that wouldn’t carry over when you travel to other places, like the village of Lowville.

Lowville Mayor Joe Beagle says he is unsure if the village will follow suit.

But, anti drug group UP! Coalition of Lewis County would like to see the village also ban dispensaries, given that Lowville Academy sits practically in the middle of the village.

“Having something within walking distance would be a concern and we are just basically happy to work with all respective agencies to make sure that we are limiting access,” said Cassie Forbus, UP! Coalition of Lewis County coordinator.

There’s tax money at play. Three percent, typically split between the town and village. But if the village doesn’t opt out and the town does, the town will miss out on 1.5 percent of that tax money. That doesn’t bother Schell.

“We just didn’t think that was significant enough to override the concerns that we had,” he said.

Schell says the town will be holding a public hearing on May 20 to see how people feel about the proposed law.

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