By John Anderson, 9/9/21
The decision to opt in and allow stores that sell marijuana and cannabis-based food products (also called gummies), was discussed at length by the Wellsville Town Board Wednesday night.
While at one point, it appeared a majority would be in favor of allowing it in the town, board members want to wait until the end of the year when they have to give a decision to the state.
Board member Patricia Graves was on a web conference with the state over the opt-in, opt-out matter. Wellsville Village Trustee Michael Roeske, the liason to the town board, said he was also on the webinar.
Graves said there was not a lot of information and the state has not made final decisions. Despite that, some communities have voted to opt-in or opt-out.
“I would recommend putting in place a town local law or rule, where they can be located and hours of operation,” Graves said. “Simply put, marijuana is here and it’s not going away. We might as well accept it. Am I personally using it? No. But I would recommend putting into place reasonable guidelines.”
Board member Jesse Case said the town does not have that kind of zoning authority.
Town Supervisor Shad Alsworth said, “While I don’t support it and don’t see a need for it, I’m a constitutionalist and I would struggle throwing regulation at it.”
Alsworth said just because marijuana is legal and can be purchased, it also means someone under the influence will be subjected to the same laws of someone under the influence of alcohol.
“You can’t drive under the influence. The (New York State Police) troopers are proud they write 2,800 tickets in Wellsville, so I take solace in knowing if anywhere is prepared to police it, it’s going to be right here in Wellsville where we have the most police presence per capita in the United States,” Alsworth said.
Board member William Fish said, “I’m not a fan of people walking down the road and having my kids smell marijuana. It’s not something kids should be subjected to. This is a family issue.”
Roeske said the will be a “marijuana commission” to explain more and the town and village have until Dec. 31 to opt in or opt out.
Case said there is an option to opt out, but then opt back in. He wants to see what the state will do.
Alsworth said the board will research the topic and make a decision in a month or two.