Ignoring a plea from the lone member of the audience to speak on the matter, the New Windsor Town Board voted last week to ban the retail of cannabis products within its borders.
“We have had many discussions about this, with board members, attorney and police chief,” Town Supervisor George Meyers said before the unanimous vote to opt out of the newly-enacted state law that permits cannabis sales.
Though recreational marijuana is now legal in New York State, municipalities have until Dec. 31 of this year to decide if they want to opt out, and not permit its sale within their boundaries. New Windsor joins the town of Crawford, the City of Middletown and the Village of Maybrook in exercising that option. The Village of Walden Trustees were expected to take similar action after their public hearing this week. If a municipality takes no action before Dec. 31, marijuana sales automatically become legal within the municipality. If they choose to opt out, however, they can still choose to reconsider at a later date
“We just felt that until this thing gets rolling….,” Meyers said, “we’re not really comfortable at this point to opt in.”
The public hearing that preceded the vote drew just one speaker, Pietro Geraci, a Town of Newburgh resident who is the chairman of the Orange County Libertarian Party. Geraci said he has been making the rounds at public hearings, addressing municipal board in Middletown, Crawford and Stony Point.
“You cannot keep cannabis out of New Windsor,” Geraci told the board, adding that residents can drive to the City of Newburgh or elsewhere to purchase it legally and bring it into the town. “It will not alleviate any of your concerns.”
Geraci said the only thing that opting out would do would be to keep some tax revenue out of the town. The sale of cannibis products would come with a four percent Orange County sales tax. The county would keep 25 percent of that amount and distribute the reminder to the municipalities.
“He’s right about taxes,” Meyers agreed, before the vote to opt out.
“It was unanimous.”