DANSVILLE — Business owner Steve Litteer has been a longtime advocate for cannabis and the state’s Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act. He shared his love for CBD, or cannabidiol, and hemp when opening 4Fathers Organics, and now hopes to become a cannabis dispensary after residents of the village of Dansville voted in favor of MRTA.
“I was beyond thrilled when I heard the news and I was in shock for a few days. We almost had a 2-to-1 vote in favor of dispensaries and that’s what we’ve got. intention to be and now we have the opportunity to do so,” said Litteer, who said 4Fathers Organics intends to become a cannabis dispensary once the laws and licensing are finalized.
Village residents collected enough signatures to force a permissive referendum on the issue after the village council decided to step down. This decision was reversed on February 15.
Residents voted on two proposals: “Should the Village of Dansville continue to back out of (prohibit) the licensing and establishment of cannabis retail dispensaries in the Village of Dansville? and “Should the Village of Dansville continue to withdraw from (prohibit) the licensing and establishment of on-site cannabis consumption establishments in the Village of Dansville?” »
Both resolutions were defeated, according to unofficial Livingston County Board of Elections results.
The first proposal had 161 votes to maintain the ban on cannabis dispensaries and 276 votes to allow the licensing of such dispensaries.
For the second proposal, 184 people voted in favor of maintaining the opt-out of licensing on-site cannabis consumption establishments, while 250 people voted no.
With the results, the village of Dansville opted for the MRTA, and individuals and businesses will eventually be able to apply for licensing and establishment of cannabis dispensaries and for licensing and establishment of cannabis consumption sites. on the spot. If the “yes” votes outnumbered the “no” votes, the village would have continued to withdraw from the MRTA.
“At this time, we have no idea what impact this will have on the village, especially since the state hasn’t even put regulations in place,” Mayor Peter Vogt said. “Nothing is going to happen overnight.”
Litteer, whose Franklin Street business specializes in hemp and CBD products, has been vocal on social media about the importance of MRTA license accessibility.
“I advocated for the MRTA, even before I started 4Fathers,” said Litteer, who has been involved with the Rochester chapter of NORML, a group that lobbied to reform cannabis laws and encourage education about cannabis. cannabis. “So I thought it was extremely important that we get the word out and make sure people are properly educated so they can make the decision. It really came down to – I thought we were going to having to leave the community because, you know, if they pulled out – once recreational use by adults came along, we weren’t going to be able to survive just doing CBD.”
The village council chose December 21, 2021 to opt out of the state’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, or MRTA, which became law in March 2021. Municipalities in the state had until on December 31, 2021 to make a decision; if they made no decision, the municipality would automatically opt into state law, which would allow retail locations and on-site consumption.
Municipalities that have opted out may register at a later date.
Dansville’s decision to withdraw opened a window in which residents could collect signatures and launch a permissive referendum that could overturn the municipality’s decision.
Municipalities still have the power to make decisions on zoning and other matters as it relates to membership, and by signing on, the community now has options they didn’t have before.
“When I was growing up, with how draconian all the laws were, I thought I was going to be an old man before I had the opportunity to do something like this,” Litteer said. “I believe that when the opportunity arises, you have to kick down the door.”
Municipalities can only refuse places of use and on-site dispensaries. They cannot refuse to allow individuals to use marijuana, as the possession and use of cannabis will remain legal statewide.
Of the 26 municipalities in Livingston County, 19 have signed up and six municipalities have opted out, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government’s Marijuana Opt-Out Tracker.
In Livingston County, the municipalities that have chosen to allow both dispensaries and on-site consumption are: the town and village of Avon, the town and village of Caledonia, the village of Dansville, the town of Groveland, City and Village of Leicester, City and Village of Lima, City and Village of Livonia, City and Village of Mount Morris, City of Nunda, City of Portage, City of Sparta, City of West Sparta and City of York.
Municipalities that have opted out and will not allow dispensaries and consumption sites are Conesus Town, Geneseo Town and Village, North Dansville Town, Nunda Village and Ossian Town.
The city of Springwater has not made a formal decision that would automatically include the city in the law, although the city’s status has not been confirmed by the Marijuana Tracker as of February 21.
The village council of Nunda withdrew on July 12, then a referendum on September 7 confirmed the decision to withdraw.
A municipality can register after initially opting out, but cannot opt out after joining the law. However, membership also does not guarantee the municipality a dispensary or retail site. It just allows the city or town to have some in the future and receive a portion of the tax revenue from marijuana sales.
The state has indicated that marijuana sales will be taxed at approximately 13%, of which approximately 9% will accrue to the state and 4% will be allocated locally. Of that 4%, municipalities will receive 75% based on their adult-use marijuana sales, and counties will receive the remaining 25%.