Local towns submit decisions to allow marijuana dispensaries, on-site lounges


MONROE COUNTY, N.Y. (WROC) — On December 31, towns and villages in New York State must submit their decisions on allowing marijuana dispensaries and on-site consumption lounges. 

To opt-in or to not, is the big question.

If a town does neither, they’ll automatically be enrolled. If a municipality chooses to opt-out, they can change their mind down the road, at anytime. 

But once they formally opt-in, it’s permanent.

Here’s a list of towns and villages in Monroe County, who have sealed the deal:

  • Irondequoit
  • Penfield
  • City of Rochester
  • Village of Brockport
  • Wheatland

Penfield, the only town for dispensaries, but not lounges. 

Brockport mayor Margay Blackman says marijuana has already been legal for several months, so why not opt-in?

“I read the law more than once twice,” Blackman said. “This is something to be highly regulated, the product highly lab tested and controlled.”

It was also a matter of listening to public feedback, talking with local law enforcement, and considering how on residents attending SUNY Brockport would be affected. Blackman says most municipalities with SUNY schools have opted-in as well.

“I’ve talked with other mayors of SUNY municipalities,” she said. “The school [Brockport] had not gotten any comments from parents at all expressing any concerns.”

Over in Webster, they’re saying no to both options.

Town Supervisor Tom Flaherty believes it came down to too many unanswered questions.

“If someone walks out of one of those lounges and gets in their car, are they impaired?,” Flaherty said. “And because there isn’t how do you handle it.”

One question on a lot of people’s minds — will allowing dispensaries lead to a lot of financial success?

Blackman says, wait and see.

But for Flaherty in Webster, there’s just no rush to find out.

“You can always opt-in, in the future, we need to see how this is progressing with other municipalities, first,” he said.

Both Webster and Brockport have their own drug recognition expert in the police departments — playing a crucial role in the decision-making process.

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