Massena mayor: share your thoughts on marijuana dispensaries
BY JIMMY LAWTON
North country This Week
MASSENA — Massena Village Mayor Tim Ahlfeld encouraged village residents to share their thoughts on allowing marijuana dispensaries to operate within the municipal limits Tuesday.
Ahfeld reopened a discussion on marijuana dispensaries at the regular meeting July 20.The state law allows marijuana dispensaries to operate legally, but municipalities that do not want them have the option of saying no.
To be clear, municipalities do not have a say on the legality of marijuana use and possession, but can decide whether or not to allow dispensaries to operate.
For municipalities that do allow marijuana sales there is an incentive.
Weed sales have the potential to bring in significant sales tax on the purchases. That's because the state’s plan for taxing marijuana will include an additional 4 cents on top of the normal 8 cents collected on sales in St. Lawrence County.
More importantly, 75 percent of sales tax generated on the 4 cent marijuana sales tax will stay with municipalities in which they are sold, with the county taking the remainder.
Municipalities that don’t want to allow sales within their boundaries will have to opt out before Jan. 1 2022. And even if elected officials decide they want to opt out, doing so would be subject to a permissive referendum, which is a vote from the public, that could overturn that decision.
Conversely, no action is needed from trustees to allow marijuana sales in the village.
Mayor Ahlfeld said unless there are objections he believed the trustees were likely to go with the status quo, allowing sales. However, he did suggest reaching out to the public to gather more opinions.
He encouraged residents to share their thoughts at village meetings, to send emails or write letters to the village if they are interested in commenting on the matter.
Ahlfeld said that trustees should be keeping an ear out and listening to the community.
No formal action was taken on the matter.