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Wellsville ready to opt-out of marijuana law, but first a public hearing on Nov. 8

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By John Anderson, 10/27/21

The Wellsville Village Board is prepared to opt-out of a law that would allow adult-use retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses in the village.

However, the official vote will not take place until after a public hearing is held on Nov. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the David A. Howe Library. The regular board meeting is expected to take place at 6 p.m. or when the hearing ends. At that time, village officials are expected to vote unless something comes up that delays a vote.

Monday night, the board drafted the resolution to opt-out of the law. Municipalities can not opt-out of the current legalization laws, as anyone can use marijuana in most public places. It is also legal to carry up to a certain amount of marijuana.

“We made a resolution to ‘opt-out.’ As I understand it, it’s a preliminary law,” Wellsville Mayor Randy Shayler said. “We have a hearing before it becomes real law or we file it with the state. And nothing becomes law until the state puts a stamp on it.”

There has been some talk from local entrepreneurs about dispensaries in Wellsville that could help farms and bring in tourism.

However, village trustees are not prepared to vote yes as many questions they have about the law are not in writing yet by the state. Also, if a municipality does not vote to opt-out by Dec. 31, 2021, they automatically opt-in and allow dispensaries. Shayler said a vote to opt-out gives the village a chance to opt-in once the law is clarified.

When asked if all concerns and questions were answered to the liking of the board, would Wellsville opt-in, Shayler said, “Yes, yes I do. But again, will we get the right answers? And that’s what we want to know.”

Shayler said of Monday night, “Basically, the village board drove a stake in the ground saying here is where we are (against the law), now we want to listen to the residents to see if they agree or disagree.

“There is not enough information on what opting in means,” Shayler continued. “This is our one-time chance to opt-out. We have to do it prior to Dec. 31. if we do not opt-out, we are in and we can never opt-out again. In contrast, if we opt-out, we can see what information is provided by the state and opt-in at the appropriate time. The problem we have is, the state is giving us basically no option to opt-out. We have to wait for the information. “

When asked about zoning dispensaries or stores, Shayer said he does not know how far they can reach with a local zoning law. He pointed out, “We can not pass a law or ordinance to outlaw marijuana smoking. We can pass an ordinance to outlaw smoking. We can’t single out marijuana smoking. 

“You could sit in front of Sugardaddy’s and smoke on a park bench and your family could walk to a store or the greenspace and right through the smoke,” Shayler explained. “That can happen and there is no vehicle for the police to say ‘hey could you please do it somewhere else?’ I don’t have a problem with the use or marijuana or drinking, I have a problem with drunks hanging out by my house and the same with  someone using marijuana.”

Shayler doesn’t have an issue he said with a new business, but he said it would become an issue.

“I don’t have a dog in the fight, but I don’t know if there would be issues if someone opens a retail establishment,” he said. “What’s concerning is, the way the opt-in, opt-out law is right now, if we don’t do anything about the law, it’s a permanent move.”

Also Tuesday night:

– Part of Main Street will be closed on Saturday. There will be a EMS and Fire Department open house and Halloween bags for kids on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Village Trustees approved a special event permit from noon to 4 p.m.

Main Street will be closed from the fire department and ambulance bay on Main Street to Bokman’s. The Wellsville Volunteer Ambulance Corp said “We will have multiple departments coming to show off their fire trucks and ambulances. The road will be closed off from WVAC to Bokman’s. All are welcome. We will also have live demonstrations using rescue equipment. We will be selling hot dogs and hamburgers along with drinks at WVAC. Bags with goodies will be provided for children while supplies last. We hope to have a good turnout and see everyone there.”

– A business license application for Taren Drake was approved for Salon 406 by trustees. The business will be at 406 N. Main Street in a residential area. It will be a home-occupied business.

– The village approved getting rid of old material, including an Iphone XR worth less than $25, a Netgear router and two Zoom fax modems.

– Trustees approved the police department selling a former police vehicle, a 2016 Ford Explorer

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