GERRY — The town of Gerry has voted to opt out of allowing marijuana retail dispensaries — the latest municipality to do so in Chautauqua County.
The Gerry Town Board made the decision following a public hearing on the topic Aug. 12. Supervisor Richard Heath said the vote — made in the form of a local law opting the town out of allowing businesses to sell marijuana — was unanimous by members of the board.
“We had to make a decision based on the town board members, and the decision was unanimous from everyone to basically opt out,” he said.
A resident did go before the board in June to inquire about having a retail marijuana business within the town. The supervisor said dispensaries are not allowed inside a residence and would need to be in a commerically zoned area.
Further, Heath said the option could come up again in the form of a townwide referendum if there was enough support. However, he doesn’t believe any referendum would pass if put to a vote.
“I’m quite confident it wouldn’t,” he said.
The town joins a growing list of municipalities to opt out as part of New York state’s marijuana legalization effort. The Lakewood Village Board at a meeting this week voted unanimously in favor of opting out of allowing pot dispensaries, shops or consumption locations. The vote occurred after a public hearing.
Other municipalities that have gone that route include the village of Bemus Point and the towns of Ellicott, Busti, Carroll and Clymer in the south county.
Under the law, signed by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April, New York residents 21 and older are allowed to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana for recreational use. Residents will be able to buy marijuana from brick-and-mortar dispensaries.
The new law also allows for the creation of lounges and other adult-use consumption sites, but those will be limited to establishments with a license.