Lake Placid officials plan forum on cannabis

Village board, town council roundtable slated Sept. 29

LAKE PLACID — The North Elba Town Council and Lake Placid Village Board are planning a public forum to discuss whether they should opt out of allowing the sale of marijuana.

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law on March 31 allowing recreational marijuana use by adults 21 years old and older. The law gives municipalities the option of banning dispensaries, declining to offer on-site consumption licenses to businesses or even imposing civil fines for violations, although consumption of cannabis will still be legal.

To opt in to allowing dispensaries, municipalities do nothing. To opt out, elected officials must pass a local law banning them by Dec. 31. If a municipality chooses to opt out, the decision can be rescinded, but once rescinded, a municipality can’t opt out again.

“That’s the one shot we have if we want to do that,” North Elba town Supervisor Jay Rand said.

There will be a 13% tax on sales of marijuana products — with the state giving a 3% cut to municipalities and 1% to counties who opt in.

On Tuesday, members of the North Elba Town Council voted to schedule a joint public roundtable discussion with the village board to talk about whether cannabis-related legistation should be imposed locally. The discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. The boards haven’t yet decided where it will take place. Until a venue is decided, Lake Placid Mayor Art Devlin said he’s not sure if the meeting will be accessible virtually. He said the North Elba Town Hall might be too small for the number of people he hopes will attend, and the boards are considering meeting at the school.

More input needed

While town councilors refrained from voicing their direct opinions on the decision Tuesday, they did express the need for broad community input before finalizing anything.

“We need the people to come out and tell us what they’re thinking,” Devlin said Wednesday.

Rand said the Association of Towns of the State of New York recommends that communities experiencing some hesitation from residents or lawmakers regarding the new law should hold a public meeting on the topic.

Rand spoke with Devlin and they decided that the town and village would benefit from a joint public forum.

“It doesn’t hurt to have a joint public info session where we can hear what people feel,” Rand said.

The two municipalities also hope to make a joint decision on the law, but even if North Elba decides to opt out of cannabis sales or on-site consumption licenses, Lake Placid can still opt in. In that case, North Elba regulations would apply outside of village limits.


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