Retail cannabis dispensaries will soon be allowed to set up shop in the Village of Lansing following the Board of Trustees’ decision to opt into the proposal of the New York State MRTA (Marijuana Regulation and Taxation) law on Nov. 15.
The board held a second round of public hearings this past Monday on that proposal as well as the proposal to permit on-site consumption business in the village. Only a couple of people spoke during the first round of public hearings, so the board hoped by holding another set of public hearings more villagers would attend and offer their input.
However, once again only two members of the public spoke during last Monday’s public hearings, those two being Hugo Medina and Kira Olson-Medina. Medina said he is in favor of allowing the selling of cannabis in the village since it would make it easier for individuals like himself, who use cannabis for medical purposes, to obtain it.
“I have a medical marijuana card, and currently have to drive to Syracuse to get my medication,” Medina said. “I think allowing it in Lansing would be not only great for the community, but also be a benefit for those of us who … use it for medication … and have to drive two hours out of our way just to get our medication.”
Olson-Medina reiterated Medina’s sentiments.
“We actually moved here recently from Arizona where it was also recently legalized,” Olson-Medina said. “Coming from a state where that did just recently happen, I think that it would be a detriment to the community in the long run to not allow this business to enter into the community. I think people are going to be using these substances, and I’d much rather see it gain a regulated space, especially something where people aren’t having to drive, and currently right now we have to drive two hours to get his medication.”
No one from the public spoke during the hearing on the proposal to permit on-site consumption. After both hearings were closed, the board took a vote on both proposals, ultimately choosing to opt into the retail sale proposal (4–1 decision) and opt out of the on-site consumption proposal (unanimous decision).
Trustee Randy Smith was the lone board member to vote against opting into allowing retail sale of cannabis in the village, saying by voting to opt in the village is stating that it is acceptable for the youth to consume cannabis.
“I’m on the Tompkins County Youth Services Department board and they are really astonished that the county is going after this like they are,” Smith said. “They have statistical information that shows more and more high school and middle school kids are doing marijuana. And the kids actually believe that it will not and cannot harm them. It’s the kind of information that’s been fed to them over time. They believe alcohol could harm you, but the marijuana won’t.”
Trustee Simon Moll expressed his support of opting into the retail sale proposal prior to the vote, rehashing points made from the previous public hearings on the topic.
“I don’t want to make too much of the sales tax revenue; I think that’s a tick in the pro column,” Moll said. “We want to make sure that we’re always doing the right thing for the village. It may not always be just looking at sales tax. But in my opinion, retail sale is legal. I equate [it] to retail sales of alcohol; we allow that in the village.”