MAYVILLE — The town of Chautauqua is joining several area municipalities in not allowing marijuana dispensaries.
The Chautauqua Town Board this week unanimously backed a resolution for the town to opt out of allowing retail cannabis dispensaries and on-site cannabis consumption sites within the town. Marijuana will still be legal to possess in the town, due to state law.
During the public portion of the meeting, Mayville resident Roy Harvey spoke out against dispensaries.
He expressed concerns that dispensaries in the town will drive up depression, suicide and increase high school drop outs. He feels that legal marijuana will create health problems and that because so many communities have opted out of marijuana dispensaries, marijuana users will come to the town and it will increase legal problems.
“You’re going to see an increase in crime, suicide and an increase cost of policing,” Harvey said.
Councilman Scott Cummings said he felt it was the wrong time for the town to permit marijuana dispensaries, adding that the state hasn’t provided enough guidance.
Supervisor Don Emhardt agreed. “They (state) haven’t set down any rules, but they’re having us act on it by December,” he said. “That kind of leaves us out in a field, not knowing what we’re actually approving.”
Emhardt added that just because the town has opted out now, doesn’t mean it can’t opt back in later. His concern was that if the town opts in now, it won’t be able to opt out. “Until they make up some rules, there’s no sense in being in this deal,” he said.
Other municipalities that have opted out of having marijuana dispensaries include the towns of Gerry, Busti, Carroll, Clymer, Harmony, Ellery, as well as the villages of Lakewood and Cassadaga.