Local leaders hold roundtable discussion on recreational marijuana

DUNKIRK, N.Y. (WIVB) –The clock is ticking down for officials to decide whether to prohibit pot.

Leaders from Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties met Tuesday night to go over questions and concerns they have about allowing recreational marijuana into their communities.

“The State irresponsibly, in my opinion, passed this law and left the vacuum of no information,” said State Sen. George Borrello. “You have the Office of Cannabis Management, you have the Cannabis Advisory Board, all of those appointments – none of them happened before we left session. As a result, there’s no infrastructure in place, there are no rules that have been promulgated.”

Borrello said he’s hopeful to get everything answered, especially before municipalities must decide if they want to allow dispensaries by Dec. 31.

“You can’t opt out of the consumption of marijuana, but you can opt out of having a dispensary in your community,” Borrello said. “There’s so many unanswered questions that I think a lot of municipalities are choosing to opt out, because they can always opt back in.”

Both Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist and Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas said they plan to opt in at this point, allowing dispensaries within city limits. But Rosas said he’s spoken with his common council, and they also plan to pass regulations and restrictions, like where marijuana can be used.

“What I expect is that there will be restrictions that we will be putting in as local law ordinances,” Rosas said. “We need to do more research to ensure we’re doing things the right way.”

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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