Cobleskill considers weed stores


By Patsy Nicosia

Weed in Cobleskill?
Supervisor Leo McAllister wants to hear what you think.
It’s a decision the Town of Cobleskill will have to make before the end of the year, Mr. McAllister said—or the state will make it for them.
The Village of Cobleskill has already decided it will likely allow retail sale of cannabis, but not pot lounges, Mayor Becky Terk said.
And though the village is the likeliest place for storefront dispensaries, Mr. McAllister said the town also needs to decide whether to opt out of the state law that allows them.
No action means they’ll be allowed—though subject to regulations similar to those governing the sale of cigarettes and alcohol when it comes to locations near schools and churches.
“I don’t think this is a decision five people should make on their own,” Mr. McAllister said, referring to himself and the four town councilmen.
“It’s critical we hear what the community thinks
Whether to allow retail weed dispensaries will be the topic of a public hearing at the town’s Monday, November 8 meeting, 7pm at the Cobleskill Firehouse.
Mr. McAllister likened the discussion to when a casino was proposed for Howe Caverns back in 2014.
A public hearing on that generated hundreds of comments, he said, most of them positive because of the jobs and revenue the family-focused casino—which the state in the end awarded to Schenectady—would have meant.
Municipalities stand to make some money off retail cannabis sales: a three percent tax from sales.
“That’s the other side,” said Mr. McAllister, who expects allowing the retail sales to be controversial.
“Do we want to give up the revenue?”
The state legalized recreational use of marijuana by those 21 and older in March and is still working out the details.
Counties can’t prohibit dispensaries, but cities, towns, and village can; no one can prohibit the growing of pot—though that likely won’t be legal until 2023.
It will all be managed by the newly-established Office of Cannabis Management.
Councilman Werner Hample—the only candidate for Mr. McAllister’s seat when he retires at the end of the year—agreed the idea of dispensaries is controversial.
“But since it’s legal, this gives us an opportunity to hear from the public,” he said.
“It’s important that folks come out and let us know what they think.”