Saratoga Springs seeks public opinion on marijuana shops

Saratoga Springs officials are seeking public input before deciding whether to ban certain marijuana businesses from operating in the city.

While city commissioners gave little information on their position on removing marijuana dispensaries and shops that allow on-site consumption, they were given a quick reminder at Tuesday’s city council meeting that they had until December 31 to decide whether they wanted to ban one or the other. the two types of businesses over which they have a say.

The city plans to open a section on the city’s website for about 30 days to gather public comment on the marijuana businesses before returning to the topic at future council meetings. If the city takes no action to ban any of the businesses, dispensaries and places where marijuana can be consumed on-site will be allowed to open in the city once state officials establish a regulatory system. statewide. The council could pass local law by December 31 to ban one or both types of businesses.

“I can’t imagine a world in which we opt to opt out,” Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton said in the clearest position of any city commissioner at Tuesday’s meeting.

City attorney Vince DeLeonardis, who offered city council a quick reminder on the state’s new marijuana regulation law, said if the city allows dispensaries and other marijuana businesses in the city, it would receive revenue from a 3% sales tax, with another 1% tax going to the county.

DeLeonardis compared the two types of marijuana businesses the board could ban from selling alcohol: dispensaries compare to liquor stores while on-site consumption places compare to bars and pubs.

City commissioners did not discuss the matter but noted the deadline for determining whether they want to take action.

“I don’t know where we are all at,” Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan said. “These are conversations we should be having now, as a deadline is approaching.”

Local governments have until the end of the year to pass local law restricting marijuana-related businesses or they will be allowed by default. The city of Ballston, for example, recently approved a measure that would ban companies that allow on-site cannabis consumption, but the city will still allow other retailers to operate.

DeLeonardis said city officials should start making a decision, because if they want to pass a local law before the Dec.31 deadline, they will need time to publicize the action. He said the public would have the opportunity to submit comments on the matter through the city’s website.

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