BATH, N.Y. (WETM) – Village of Bath Mayor Michael Sweet tells 18 News that the village will not opt-out of the pending marijuana laws allowing dispensaries and on-site consumption.
“It doesn’t make sense to opt-out,” said Sweet. “There are no benefits, marijuana usage is not going to go down in the community. People have the legal right to do it at home.”
Sweet told 18 News that he attended a meeting discussing the marijuana legislation during the New York Conference of Mayors and brought the information back to the village board to discuss.
One of the advantages for Bath not opting out, according to Sweet, is that people from other communities that did opt-out would come into the village, meaning more revenue sharing from the taxes.
“Why wouldn’t we as a community want to take advantage of sales tax revenue?” asked Sweet.
Sweet says the village may receive about three percent of the tax revenue, which could mean several hundred thousand dollars in revenue.
The Town of Bath voted to opt-out of both on-site consumption and dispensaries on Nov. 8, meaning the village would receive the full tax revenue. Had the town opted-in to the laws they would have split the revenue with the village.
While the village is not opting out of the dispensaries and on-site consumption laws, it does not mean they will automatically come into the county. Sweet says Steuben County may only receive two licenses and that it’ll be “heavily regulated.”
Sweet believes Bath would be an ideal place for the licenses given that they’re the county seat and their location in the county, but acknowledged that Corning would also be an option.
“They’re not going to pop up all over.”
Of the 48 Steuben County municipalities tracked by the Rockefeller Institute and WETM’s opt-out tracker, only a handful have opted-in to both laws. Pulteney, Rathbone, and Hornby have opted into both the dispensaries and on-site consumption, while the City of Corning and Town of Lindley opted in for dispensaries but out of on-site consumption.
Other communities that have not opted out include Watkins Glen, Ithaca, and Elmira.
18 News has reached out to several other communities where an official announcement has not been posted. Communities have until Dec. 31, 2021, to opt-out of the law and those who do not act will automatically be included in the legislation.