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Legalized Pot: Will Our Towns “Opt-in”?

As the New York State legislature finalizes the legalization of recreational marijuana this week, local municipalities will be faced with allowing or “opting out” of retail pot sales in their jurisdictions.

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act would end marijuana prohibition in New York State, tax the sales (9% state, 4% local) and provide for the creation of a Cannabis Advisory Board to monitor the effects of pot sales and award grants from some of the tax revenue generated by the commerce.

Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Tom Murphy

Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Tom Murphy says he is generally pleased with the law as it’s advancing in Albany, but remains “ambivalent” about the prospect of recreational pot sales in our area.

“While I believe in most instances marijuana is a safer recreational drug than alcohol, the potential for abuse is still large,” he told us recently. He feels some of the tax revenue from marijuana sales “should be coupled with a program designed to educate about pot’s deleterious effects,” and “help addicts of heroin and other stronger drugs to recover from addiction.”

Larchmont Mayor Lorraine Walsh says that although she too is “generally in favor of legalization,”  she has “not had a chance to read through the 128-page bill yet for particulars so cannot comment on opt-in or opt-out at this time.”

New York is set to become the 16th state to legalize recreational marijuana, following New Jersey which did so this past November.

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