Fultonville passes local law waiving retail jar and schedules public hearing afterwards

FULTONVILLE — The board has scheduled a public hearing next week on a local law after it approved last month to withdraw from retail cannabis dispensaries and consumption sites. State law requires that public hearings be held before local laws are passed.

Mayor Linda Petterson-Law explained Thursday that the Board of Trustees at its regular meeting last month unanimously approved a local law to withdraw from recreational marijuana dispensaries and drugstores. consumption before the deadline of December 31 set by the State.

To get ahead of the looming deadline, the council has scheduled the public hearing on the legislation after its passage for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. before the regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m.

“Because we were so late, that’s why we’re holding our public hearing as soon as possible,” Peterson-Law said.

The state law legalizing the recreational use and sale of marijuana signed in March gave municipalities until the end of 2021 to opt out and prohibit the establishment of retail sites in the within their borders. Although communities cannot opt ​​out of recreational marijuana now that the deadline has passed, state law allows communities to opt out of registration at any time.

After the Glen Town board approved a local law banning marijuana dispensaries and consumption sites in September, Petterson-Law said village officials felt the action applied to Fultonville by extension. The village is located in the town of Glen.

When officials learned that was not the case, Peterson-Law said there was little time to decide whether the village should pull out.

“I think there was some confusion among board members that if the city opted out, which it did, then that covered our municipality,” Peterson-Law said. “But at the end of the year, as I was doing more research on this, I found out that wasn’t true, so we had to take action.”

The council hadn’t discussed marijuana legalization at any time in the past year and hadn’t heard from residents whether they favor or oppose pot retailers and parlors moving into the area. town. Officials decided to take steps to preserve their options and then gather feedback from residents.

“We wanted to be able to have a choice,” Peterson-Law said. “That’s the only reason we took the action we took.”

Peterson-Law did not decide whether cannabis should be allowed in the village and said the council would consider overturning the local law of removal from retail sites if residents are found to be in favor of allowing cannabis. marijuana websites.

“I’m not against it, but I’m not really for it either. I need to do a little more research on this, hear from our residents, and then make a final decision,” Peterson-Law said.

Trustee Steve Helmin agreed that passing local law before the public hearing was only to preserve options for the village before making a final decision after hearing from residents.

“It was mainly the compulsion that it had to be done by December 31,” Helmin said. “It was made very clear that we could re-register at any time, which is why we moved. Several of us felt that was a way to move forward and hold a public hearing as soon as possible. as possible to get input from our constituents.

Similar to the mayor, Helmin said he was undecided about whether marijuana stores should be allowed in the village and wanted to know what locals thought.

“At this point, I’m really interested in hearing what people have to say,” Helmin said. “I hope that a good part of the public will come to share their thoughts. I’ve always said for all of us, it’s our government and if you have an opinion, you should voice it.

Although officials said the local law-passing measures were taken only to protect the village’s decision on marijuana and allow residents to be heard, the fact that the public hearing did not not occurred prior to enactment of local law may invalidate legislation under state law.

The Home Rule Act requires that proposed local laws be formally presented to the municipal governing body before a public hearing is scheduled and that notices be published at least five days in advance. The local law can only be adopted after the public hearing has been held.

After approval, local laws must be filed with the State Secretary of State’s Office within 20 days and do not take effect until filed.

The Requirements for Adoption of Local Laws published by the State Department’s Local Government Services Division notes that “Omission or failure to comply with these technical details may embarrass local officials, delay the date of entry effect of local law and render the local law invalid”.

The local law passed by the village council was filed with the state on December 31. However, the documents available online indicate that the local law was adopted “in accordance with the applicable provisions of the law”.

If deviating from the required procedure results in the invalidation of local law approved by the Board of Directors, the village would most likely be unable to take further steps to withdraw from cannabis sales and consumption sites now that the State deadline has passed.

Contact Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.

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