Niskayuna opts out of cannabis dispensaries


NISKAYUNA — There won’t be any cannabis dispensaries in Niskayuna in the near future.

The Town Board voted Wednesday on a local law opting out of allowing the facilities in the municipality.

The vote was 4-0 for the local law. Board member John Della Ratta was absent from the meeting.

The local law prohibits, for the time being, any cannabis dispensaries — along with on-site consumption locations — in town. The town will still have the option to opt back in at any time. 

The resolution is subject to permissive referendum, meaning a resident could request a public vote within the next 30 days on the matter. 

Only two residents offered comments on the topic during a public hearing. 

“As yet the state has not released guidance about the regulations controlling the licensing process or operational practices,” said Jeanne Sosnow, the president of the Niskayuna Community Action Program. “It makes sense to give yourselves the time necessary to make the best decision for Niskayuna and the community by opting out now.” 

She said regardless of what people’s opinions are on adult consumption of cannabis, many would agree that children shouldn’t consume the drug. Having the town opt out sends the message to youth that the town cares about their health, she said. 

She said areas that have dispensaries and consumption sites can be negatively impacted even if the places generate revenue. 

“Tax revenue has been cited as a benefit of permitting a dispensary in town,” she said. “But it may not necessarily be as predicted. In the states that have legalized adult use, it takes years for revenue to build. Many of those states have decreased revenue projections.” 

She said consumption can also impact one’s health.

Resident Jeanie Orr submitted similar comments to the board. She raised concerns about drugged driving, and the potential second-hand smoke workers at the facilities may face. 

“Similarly, a proliferation of cannabis dispensaries normalizes and makes more accessible a product that can have a negative impact on the physical, mental and social health of young people,” she said. “Because accessibility matters, the Town in 2017 changed its zoning law to restrict new tobacco retailers to locations at least 1,000 feet from schools. This was partly in response to the fact that the number of tobacco retailers in the town had increased 50% within a few years.”

Earlier this month Glenville voted 4-1 to opt out of having cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption locations until the state provided more detail about the process.

Categories: News, Schenectady County, Your Niskayuna

Ken Bulko November 24, 2021
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If you’re worried about the impact on kids, then we should close liquor stores and prohibit cigarette sales, too.

Mary November 20, 2021
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Or they could just drive to Northhampton Mass and see that the half a dozen dispensaries they have aren’t impacting the community negatively. Or they could treat Niskayuna residents as though the are adults. Or they could shut down the liquor store next to the co-op as it’s blocks form the high-school. And clearly the 1M in annual revenue (in 2018, higher now) hasn’t done anything for Northampton: