The Walden Village Board voted unanimously to opt out of allowing cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments at their meeting last Tuesday.
Mary Ellen Matise, a resident of the Village of Walden, noted during the public hearing that she believed the village should opt out of allowing cannabis dispensaries.
“If you opt out at this time you can opt in later,” she said. “Which is good because we might find that it is something that we want to do from a health perspective.”
Matise went on to state that marijuana that is sold on the streets is often laced with other substances. With a dispensary there would be quality control, meaning that the product would not be tainted.
The board voted unanimously to classify the dispensaries with a negative declaration. This means that there is no substantial evidence that cannabis dispensaries have a significant environmental impact. Following that decision, the board voted unanimously to opt out of allowing cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments.
At their meeting on Aug. 17, members of the village board elaborated on why they were in favor of opting out of allowing cannabis dispensaries.
Trustee Patricia Maher is in favor of opting out of allowing cannabis dispensaries in Walden, as there is not enough guidance on how they will be maintained.
“At the end of the day there’s not enough concrete evidence out there on how this is gonna be regulated,” she said. “The regulatory governing body hasn’t even been finalized yet, so I just feel there’s so much misinformation and lack of concrete information on how this is gonna be regulated that we can’t make a clear decision at this point.”
Trustee Cheryl Baker is in favor of opting out of allowing the dispensaries because the village can opt in as they see how everything develops over time. After hearing that the county was considering opting out of allowing dispensaries, Trustee Brian Sebring felt the village should opt out. Deputy Mayor Willie Carley has seen drugs and alcohol tear families apart and does not see a benefit to using either recreationally. Due to this, Carley is in favor of opting out.
Mayor John Ramos is in favor of opting out of allowing dispensaries because he believes marijuana is detrimental to a person’s health.
“I think the government itself by legalizing this, I don’t know what they were thinking about,” he said. “They just created yet another monster.”