The Village of Dansville will be holding a referendum on Tuesday, February 15, about legalizing the sale of marijuana and having establishments where marijuana is sold and consumed. Only registered voters may vote in the refendum. The vote will be held at the North Dansville Town Hall, 14 Clara Barton Street from noon to 9 p.m.
There will be two propositions to vote on:
-Proposition One asks “Should the Village of Dansville continue to opt out (prohibit)licensing and establishing retail cannabis dispensaries within the Village of Dansville?
-Proposition Two asks “Should the village of Dansville continue to opt out prohibit ) the licensing and establishing of on-site cannabis consumption establishments within the Village of Dansville?”
Right now, sale of marijuana in retail dispensaries, as well as establishments where consumption of marijuana is allowed, are illegal in the Village of Dansville due to a vote made on Dec. 21 by village officials to “opt out” as a local law, to give time to study the situation.
Starting Jan. 1, sales of marijuana is legal in New York State, but municipalities were given the option by the State to “opt out” for their municipality if officials felt they needed time to study the situations, and perhaps put zoning laws into effect regulating where and when the lounges and stores could operate, type of building, whether the business owner had to go to the planning board, etc. If a municipality opted out, as Village of Dansville (and several other Livingston communities) did, they were given the option by New York State to “opt in” at any time they were “ready,” but if a town “opted in” to allow sales starting Jan. 1, they could not pass laws nor make local law changes if those new laws iimpacted marijuana-sales related businesses which opened their doors Jan. 1.( Currently, most municipalities do not have zoning or other laws “on the books” that cover these businesses specifically, since marijuana was illegal in New York State prior to Jan. 1.)
The Village held public hearings, with people both for and against selling and having consumption of marijuana in businesses within the village legalized. Opponents of opting in felt legalizing the sale and consumption of cannabis was unnecessary and would increase use and availability of cannabis within the village, which in turn could cause more people within the village and local surrouds to have their mental states altered. They were also opposed to that increase in availability of cannabis, due to health concerns and lifestyle changes for users, as well as the safety (in traffic) for others.
Proponents felt, like Steve Litteer, owner of 4Fathers Organics in Dansville on Franklin St. since January 2020, that the village needs to “opt in” to legalize sale and consumption of cannabis within the village. Liteer’s store currently sells hemp and CBD products, and he sees the ability to sell marijuana too as essential to keep his business viable. He pointed out that continuing to prohibit the sale and consumption of marijuana in the village will not stop the sales, since many people will just buy “on the street,” and those sources may not be safe, nor creating jobs, nor generating tax income, which could all benefit the village.