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Watertown City Council to have public hearing on marijuana dispensaries Monday

Published: Jul. 18, 2021 at 4:44 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown residents: If you feel strongly about marijuana dispensaries operating in the city, or not, there is a chance to participate in the upcoming public hearing on the matter.

This will take place Monday at Watertown City Hall at 7:15 PM.

Council members have to soon decide if they want to opt out of allowing weed dispensaries in the city.

At this point, members appear to be leaning toward opting out, which has stirred up criticism from supporters who think it will bring revenue to the area.

Councilwoman Lisa Ruggerio says she wants more information from the state before allowing them. And Councilman Leonard Spaziani says if the city opts out now, it can always take note from other areas that will allow pot sales and then opt in at a later time.

Mayor Jeff Smith has mentioned before how challenging it is to get pot shops up and running in the area.

“I think there’s a lot of misconceptions, a few people that have reached out and asked, ‘Why aren’t you allowing dispensaries?’ They think any old person can go tomorrow, rent a storefront, and open a dispensary if we don’t opt out, which is completely not even true,” said Mayor Jeff Smith.

“There’s a minimum of, I think, $150,000 they have to pay the State of New York. And then the State of New York only awards a certain number of dispensaries. So, its not that anyone that wants to turn around and open up a dispensary can do that. That’s not the way it is. And that’s a huge misconception.”

The public hearing where you can share your opinion is Monday at 7:15 PM.

After the public is heard, council can vote to opt out or not.

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