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Tarrytown Board Passes Zoning Restrictions for Retail Cannabis Dispensaries

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January 4, 2023

By Rick Pezzullo–

The Tarrytown Board of Trustees Tuesday approved zoning amendments regarding the regulation of cannabis retail dispensaries.

The changes to the Zoning Code place additional restrictions on potential locations and operations of dispensaries, which will otherwise be allowed in zones that currently permit retail uses.

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“We’re amending the Village Code to put more oversight on to a cannabis business that applies to have this in Tarrytown,” explained Mayor Karen Brown, noting the village has received a few inquiries on its laws pertaining to such facilities. “We’re trying to make extra protection on our downtown.”

In December 2021, the Board of Trustees informally decided to join neighboring Sleepy Hollow in welcoming cannabis dispensaries by not opting out of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which was enacted in New York State on March 31, 2021.

That law legalized recreational marijuana and also opened the door for retail cannabis dispensaries and consumption sites to set up shop in all communities. Tarrytown gave a thumbs down to consumption sites, also known as lounges.

Any tax revenues on local sales of marijuana and other products would be distributed as a 9% excise tax to the state, 3% to the municipality and 1% to the county. Tax collections from the adult-use cannabis program are projected to reach $350 million annually.

Any businesses that want to open a cannabis business in the village will have to get approval from the Tarrytown Planning Board. Dispensaries are not allowed near schools or religious institutions.

Prior to the board’s vote on the amendments, several residents spoke out at a public hearing, urging the board not to permit dispensaries on Main St. and Broadway. “To each his own with pot smoking, but I don’t want to see it on Main St. in my charming village,” said Diane Tuohy of Storm St.. “We’re better than that. Don’t do it.”

Peter Bartolacci of Miller Ave. said he strongly opposed dispensaries in Tarrytown’s main downtown area. “It’s not something I want to smell when I walk down Main St.,” he said. “It’s awful. It’s unnecessary. It’s beyond me why we are even considering this.”

Others, such as businessman John Stiloski, maintained that trustees could have avoided creating a stir in the community by just opting out to allowing dispensaries when they had the chance.

Josh Kellerman, who said he worked for labor unions involved in the cannabis industry, reminded those gathered in Village Hall for the hearing that cannabis is now legal in New York State. “We should no longer treat it as a prohibition item,” he said. “It’s on the same level as alcohol and cigarettes.”

Tarrytown currently has laws on the books that prohibit smoking in village parks, parking lots and other public places.

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