Donate to The Hudson Independent
Community News
Dobbs Ferry News
Top News

Dobbs Ferry Latest Village To Opt Out of Cannabis Facilities

• Bookmarks: 96

November 24, 2021

By Barrett Seaman—

After three public hearings—the last of which ran over three hours, the Dobbs Ferry Board of Trustees voted on Tuesday, November 23rd to opt out of having either a cannabis dispensary or a consumption lounge within the village. The vote followed a lengthy—and largely thoughtful—exchange among residents and board members. The deciding factor, based on comments by the mayor and six trustees, was the uncertainty over regulations yet to be determined by the state and a sense that the year-end deadline was forcing a decision that the trustees were not prepared to make. As Dobbs Trustee Nicole Sullivan said before voting against both dispensaries and lounges, “I don’t think I could, in good conscience, vote to opt in when there are more unknowns than there are knowns.”

Work for The Hud Indy

Notable in the final vote was the distinction trustees made between dispensaries and lounges. The vote against opting in on dispensaries was four to three; the vote against lounges was six to one.

New York State has given its municipalities until December 31 to decide whether they will opt in or opt out of allowing cannabis dispensaries or consumption lounges within their borders beginning next year. Many local governments, including those in the rivertowns, have been holding public hearings in order to measure public opinion. As with many controversial issues, such sessions tend to be dominated by those with the strongest views—either pro or con.

Villages that have already decided to opt out, including Irvington and Ardsley, have done so specifically because many of the details governing this new industry have not yet been clarified, such as who will get licenses, how many will be issued and other enforcement questions. The opt-outs can also opt back in at a later date, but only after a public petition signed by no less than 20% of voters, which would lead to a referendum at the next election. Proponents of opting in warn that by then it may be too late if all the available licenses have been issued.

Public hearings in the rivertown villages have revealed recognizable categories of opponents and proponents. Those who subscribe to the “reefer madness” theory believe marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs, addiction and, inevitably, crime. Those who believe this also tend to express fear that having a dispensary or consumption lounge will draw “outsiders” into the community.

A second category of opponents, often parents, express fear that even though sale and use of marijuana is limited to those 21 and older, the presence of such facilities will make it easier—and more acceptable—for kids to get hold of it and get high. Also vocal at many hearings were drug and alcohol counselors and therapists, who warned that easy access to marijuana would contribute to existing psychological problems and larger societal dysfunction.

A number of the citizens, backed by law enforcement representatives, raised the issue of impairment and the absence of reliable metrics for police to determine when a driver has had too much.

Those favoring opting in stressed two arguments. The first might be called “wake up and smell the pot” argument, pointing to the widespread use of marijuana already, the success of legalized cannabis in other states and the opportunity the new law offers to bring use and sale under control. The second was fiscal: the law provides that 4% of the state’s overall 13% tax on marijuana sales goes to the municipality, adding potentially millions of dollars to village coffers to be used for civic improvements, or to obviate the need for taxation in other areas. As Mike Love, owner of Tarrytown’s Coffee Labs, put it at his village’s public hearing, “Think about the money and what that can do for the village.”

The villages that have opted out of both dispensaries and consumption lounges say they will re-visit the issue next year after the regulatory smoke clears. Hastings-on-Hudson has voted to allow a dispensary but not a consumption lounge. Sleepy Hollow has taken a laissez faire approach by not voting at all, thus, in essence, opting in by default. In Tarrytown, the only rivertown that remains uncommitted, Mayor Tom Butler says his board will discuss this at its December 1st work session.

Also still undecided is the Town of Greenburgh. Town Supervisor Paul Feiner wrote in an email: “One option we are considering but have not yet decided on: allowing dispensaries only in industrial areas (near Captain Lawrence, for example)” but, like Hastings, no consumption lounges. If the town decides to opt out of all cannabis venues, those villages that have opted in will get the full 4% of revenues generated by sales.

Read or leave a comment on this story...

Andrea Martone - Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow real estate agent

Homecoming Parade Cancelled Due to Weather

In a message to the Irvington community, Dr. Joel Adelberg, Acting Superintendent of Schools, has announced: "Due to the impending inclement...
Read More

Irvington EV Owners Look to Grow Their Numbers–And Cut Their Carbon Output

By Barrett Seaman-- Gathered around a table at Irvington’s Chutney Massala restaurant Wednesday evening were two Tesla Model Xes, an...
Read More

The TaSH Receives National, Regional and State Recognition

The TaSH, otherwise known as The Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow Farmers Market, was named the Number Two farmers market in...
Read More

New Phelps Facility Takes Care of the Caregivers

By Jeff Wilson-- Phelps Memorial Hospital’s Riverview Cafe was all abuzz September 18 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the new...
Read More

Latest COVID Vaccine Now Arriving at Area Pharmacies

By Barrett Seaman-- The long-awaited—updated--COVID-19 vaccine that targets the variant currently in circulation is making its way into pharmacies across...
Read More

Tolls to Increase on Cuomo Bridge in 2024

By Rick Pezzullo---   Motorists traveling over the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge will have to pay more next year....
Read More

Bee’s Knees

BEE'S KNEES: At the joint between etymology and entomology By Krista Madsen– In the interest of being open to what the universe...
Read More

Warning To Voters: Real Election Workers Don’t Make House Calls

By Barrett Seaman-- They show up on your doorstep, asking about your voter registration status. If you have recently moved...
Read More

Applications for Affordable Apartments in Tarrytown Being Accepted

By Rick Pezzullo--- Applications are currently being accepted for 100 affordable rental apartments on the former property of the Family...
Read More

Masters Senior Chosen for National Debate Team

By Aurora Horn-- Talk about multitalented! Alexa Murphy, Sleepy Hollow resident and current senior at The Masters School, in addition...
Read More
96 recommended
bookmark icon