Town of Watertown officials looking at ban on selling marijuana

·1 min read

Apr. 30—WATERTOWN — Town Supervisor Joel R. Bartlett has started working on trying to keep pot dispensaries from opening up in the town.

He's instructed Town Attorney Joseph W. Russell to draft a law that would ban the sale and distribution of marijuana in the town.

"It's a gateway drug," he said. "I don't want pot shops and smoke shops opening up on all the corners in the town."

He's already had casual conversations with members of the Town Council about the issue.

The town's local law will be patterned after other legislation put together by nearby municipalities such as Lewis County's law, he said.

"They all have to be consistent," he said.

The town's local law might be ready either in May or the June meeting for town trustees to consider.

According to the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in March, cities, towns and villages will have the option to opt-out of allowing retail dispensaries, although they will have to forego the tax revenue potentially generated by the shops.

Under the MRTA, marijuana sales will be taxed at a 13% rate, with 9% going to New York state, 3% going to the local government and 1% going to the county.

To ban a dispensary, the local government's legislature must pass a local law enacting the ban before Dec. 31.

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