January 27, 2022

Hearing set on where pot could be sold

Associated Press

Marijuana plants grow at an indoor cannabis farm Aug. 15, 2019, in Gardena, California

A public hearing Jan. 18 will elicit comments on a proposed law that would define where Cortland would allow marijuana dispensaries.

The proposal would limit them to the city’s General Business Regional Zone, or GB-1, a business district largely surrounding Interstate 81’s Exit 11, including the Riverside Plaza and extending south to Cleveland Street and including several properties on Clinton Avenue.

Recreational marijuana was legalized in March for adults age 21 or older in New York. Communities were given the option of opting out of allowing sales, but Cortland did not. Limited marijuana plant growth was legalized as well, though not until at least 18 months after the first legal marijuana sale in the state.

However, legal sales of marijuana await regulations on where marijuana dispensaries can be located, which is the purpose of the proposed law.

“We are opting into the ability for there to be a business that can sell cannabis,” Mayor Brian Tobin said at a council meeting Tuesday. “What we can regulate is where it can be in terms of zoning.”

However, Tobin is stepping down in just a few days, as are a number of council members, the new administration and council will have a say in that.

To have your say

What: Public hearing on a proposal to allow marijuana dispensaries in a GB-1 zone
When: 7 p.m. Jan. 18

“It will be up to the new mayor and new council to make the decision next year,” Tobin said.

It’s about time, said Denise McNeal, owner of Underground Leather at 11 Clinton Ave.

“I am all for it and they should have legalized it years ago,” McNeal said. “My opinion — it’s just weed” with medical benefits.

She wouldn’t sell marijuana — it’s not part of her business plan.

Not that she could, anyhow, her Clinton Avenue business isn’t in the GB-1 zone where marijuana dispensaries would be allowed.

“Thirty-one years of doing business, I enjoy my business plan as it is, selling the accessories.”