Saratoga County

Milton holding hearing on opting out of cannabis bars

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MILTON –  The town of Milton could join Ballston in shutting its door to businesses that want to allow the consumption of marijuana on its premises.

The Milton Town Board will hold a public hearing Wednesday asking to opt out of on-site cannabis consumption businesses.

Board member Barbara Kerr said she agrees that the town should prevent businesses where pot would be consumed on the premises.

“My concerns are people smoking and then going out on the road,” Kerr said Monday. “I’d rather see them, if they’re going to consume, to be at home and do it safely.”

Town Supervisor Benny Zlotnick wasn’t available for comment, and three other board members did not return email messages before The Daily Gazette’s deadline.

Ballston Spa police did not return a phone message seeking comment. Milton does not have its own law enforcement agency, relying on the Village of Ballston Spa Police Department and the county sheriff’s department and state police.

In September, Ballston opted out of allowing on-site consumption of marijuana such as cannabis lounges. But the board there voted to allow licensed sellers to sell marijuana products in town.

Supervisor Eric Connolly has said cannabis bars wouldn’t be a good fit for Ballston, as it’s a bedroom, rural and farming community that only has one alcohol bar.

Kerr, the Milton board member, said she wouldn’t necessarily oppose other types of marijuana commerce. 

Kerr noted Milton, particularly west of Middle Line Road, with its abundant open land, is “basically farming country” that could pair well with a marijuana grow business.

She was, however, more hesitant regarding the sale of cannabis: “I don’t know what Wilton’s position is on this, but will (would-be pot consumers) want to go to Wilton?” Wilton is more populated.

Prospective marijuana business owners have expressed a strong desire to situate in Saratoga County, according to Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

Prospects in all sectors of cannabis commerce have reached out to the chamber “wanting us to be generally aware of their interest here,” Shimkus said. 

The business seekers all await more information and regulations from the state, he said.

“They’re certainly looking here in all three phases, but I don’t think you’re going to see any investment here until the rules and regulations are more defined,” Shimkus said.

They’re interested because the county as a whole is a resort community. Marijuana businesses, “if done right,” have a positive impact on resort communities, he said.

“I talked to chamber execs in Colorado, California, Washington, and Massachusetts, and many of the visitors that go to the resort areas in those states expect marijuana dispensaries in the same way that we have breweries and distilleries and wineries,” Shimkus said.

But given Ballston and possibly Milton opting out of on-site consumption, Shimkus noted, “It’s definitely not for everyone – especially the retail side.” 

Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.

Categories: News, Saratoga County

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