TOWN OF ULSTER, N.Y. — Town leaders expect to allow the retail sale of recreational marijuana in designated areas of Ulster but opt out of the on-site consumption provision of the state’s cannabis legalization law.
Ulster Supervisor James Quigley said at the most recent meeting of the Town Board that retail sales probably will be allowed in the town’s Regional Commercial and Highway Commercial districts.
“That would mean Ulster Avenue from the city of Kingston line to the Saugerties line, and Route 28 from the Thruway to the town of Kingston line,” Quigley said.
A resolution to prohibit on-site consumption of marijuana is expected to be on the board’s Nov. 18 agenda. If approved, it would be subject to a public referendum if a petition calling for one is submitted within 45 days.
Under New York’s marijuana legalization law, signed in September, persons age 21 and older can now possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of cannabis concentrates in the state, and they can smoke marijuana wherever it is permissible to smoke tobacco. Regulations for the retail sale of marijuana in New York still are being worked out.
Municipalities in the state have until the end of the year to opt out of allowing marijuana shops within their borders. Communities that let the deadline pass without action will not be allowed to ban such shops but still will be allowed to regulate where they can operate.
During a public hearing last month, four people spoke in favor of allowing the retail sale of marijuana in Ulster, but none mentioned whether their support included on-site consumption.
Quigley said after the recent board meeting that opting out of on-site consumption is partially based on concern that police don’t have a way to measure the intoxication level of drivers suspected to be under the influence of marijuana.
“When we get into discussions with law enforcement and we talk about how … to test for impaired driving from this consumption … there are no tests,” the supervisor said.
Quigley said the decision to include Route 28 as an eligible area for marijuana sales was based on a medical marijuana business already operating there.
“I was told by Albany that medical marijuana companies will be given the ability to get a preference on getting the recreational [sale] licenses,” he said.
While municipalities in New York can decide whether to allow the sale of marijuana in their borders, the state Cannabis Control Board will be responsible for issuing the retail licences.