Crawford residents spoke in favor of allowing retail cannabis dispensaries in the town during a public hearing on June 17.
The public hearing was in regards to an introductory local law that if passed would allow the town to opt-out of allowing cannabis dispensaries and/or on-site cannabis consumption establishments.
Residents supported the opening of dispensaries in the town, as the businesses would bring in sales taxes. Lynda Rogers-Seeley pointed out that if the town outlaws cannabis dispensaries, residents will simply go to dispensaries in nearby municipalities.
“People are going to be going to Middletown or other places to buy it, so why don’t we just keep the money here in our own community,” she said.
Residents were also in favor of the opening of cannabis dispensaries because recreational marijuana is now legal in New York State. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation into law effective April 1, immediately legalizing cannabis products for adults ages 21 and older. It is now legal in the state for a person to possess up to three ounces of marijuana. However, it is still currently illegal to sell cannabis in New York State.
In addition, residents were for the opening of cannabis dispensaries in Crawford because they have heard positive reviews of dispensaries in other towns and states. The marijuana sold at these dispensaries is pure, whereas the cannabis sold on the streets is often mixed with other drugs. Evidence also supports that other drugs such as tobacco and alcohol are more likely to turn people on to harder drugs than marijuana.
Opting-out of on-site cannabis consumption establishments was another matter, as residents felt that there needed to be more discussion.
“It depends on where you put it, if it were in town, one place,” Rogers-Seeley said. “That I think would take a lot more thought on everybody’s part than the dispensaries.”
The public hearing regarding this introductory law was kept open and will resume at the town board meeting on July 15.