Oneonta Needs to Prepare for State’s Legalization of Marijuana, Mayor Says

Oneonta Must Prepare

For State’s Marijuana

Legalization, Mayor Says

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Mayor Gary Herzig said Oneonta should start preparing legalization of marijuana.  (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – The legalization of marijuana is coming soon to the state and Oneonta should begin preparing for it.

That was Mayor Gary Herzig’s big news from the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM) in Albany, specifically in the meeting of the Community Development Committee of Mayors. which Herzig co-chairs.

“This is something that is coming,” the mayor told Common Council’s Community Development Committee at its meeting this evening.  “It…could impact our future and we should start thinking about it, positively or negatively.  I don’t have judgment on it either way.”

Herzig said Governor Cuomo’s marijuana legalization proposal had a couple of components important for Otsego County’s and Oneonta’s future.  One of them is giving counties or populous cities (200,000+ residents or more) an “opt out,” allowing them to opt out of selling marijuana through official retail dispensaries.

“It means the City of Oneonta will have no say.  If Otsego County opts out, we’re out.  If Otsego County ops in, we’re in,” Herzig said.  “Opting out means, the sale of cannabis will not be allowed in your county.”

The legalization bill will prohibit public use throughout the state, but Herzig said Otsego County residents will be able to legally use cannabis privately even if the county opts out of allowing the selling of it.

However, Herzig said if Otsego County opts in for the selling of marijuana, the city will still be able to determine zones for the dispensaries that will be used to sell it.

“The Council could think about certain areas where selling it is prohibited and certain areas where it’s not.  Just like we zone for bars or hotels, you could zone for dispensaries,” he explained.

Herzig also reported that Cuomo is proposing high sales taxes on the sale of marijuana: a state sales tax of 20 percent of the sale from wholesaler to retail dispensary and a local/county sales tax of 2 percent of the sale from wholesaler to retail dispensary.

“As of now, that tax revenue will not be shared with cities,” Herzig stated.  “This is something that will meet with considerable resistance from mayors, which legislators will address.”

“We should make the most of positives and minimalize the negatives,” he concluded.


4 thoughts on “Oneonta Needs to Prepare for State’s Legalization of Marijuana, Mayor Says

  1. Kevin marcewicz

    Leave it up to Otsego County to take something great and make it something awful! Especially with the opioid epidemic in our area.!!!! We don’t deserve to be called “stoneonta” if this passes 🙁
    Let the people decide!

  2. Sue G

    It’s legal here in Walla Walla, WA. It’s always about $$$$$$$$$$. There are three pot shops in this small town (about the same size as Oneonta). It’s legal if you are 21. The hardest hit in our population are “tweens” and teens who are the most at risk due to their still developing brains and their attitude that it won’t hurt them. But they are the most vulnerable and the chemicals in pot change brain chemistry on developing brains, setting up the child to be more at risk for drug addiction throughout the rest of their life. Legal pot is the worst thing that can happen to our young people. Think drug use and abuse is epidemic now? Wait until pot shops spring up in town because you “aint” seen nothing yet! Most of the kids busted here are found with labeled containers and bags prepared in the pot shops! Washington State is supposed to have a watch dog system that tracks every container and bag which by law has to have a tracking number. That is a sad laugh! The system was never up and running and still doesn’t work. It was not even put in place before the pot shops opened their doors and invited folks in. It really hits home when your 10 year old as you drive by the corner downtown where the pot shop’s green neon light shines “marijuana” and asks what kind of store that is. She said while driving past it on the school bus her best friend asked her what they sell there because this friend’s dad frequents the place with her sitting in the car as he enters the shop and comes out with what he tells her is “medicine”. We just changed the subject. Washington State law says that it’s illegal to have a child anywhere on the property where pot is sold and that includes the parking lot. But why disturb the customers? The police don’t care. You can bet my kid won’t be going to that house. I know it’s everywhere and most people try or use it just like alcohol way before the legal age but I’m sure not going to make it easy! I feel sick about it because it’s yet another parent nightmare that just got ramped up. Good luck you are going to need it!

  3. Alex

    Otsego County should legalize it and use the tax money for something useful. It’s not as if anyone has any trouble getting it anyway and considering we’re next to two states who have legalized it and an entire country that has it legalized it’s not about to get harder. Instead of the money going to the county right now it’s going to drug dealers.

    When I was in high school it was easier to get weed than it was to get alcohol. Why? Because liquor stores ID and drug dealers don’t. In Colorado, legalizing pot led to a reduction in use of alcohol, marijuana and heroin (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/11/following-marijuana-legalization-teen-drug-use-is-down-in-colorado/?utm_term=.6f43b0d85738). Colorado collected 250 million dollars in taxes last year; Washington collected 320 million dollars. We’re just wasting this potential money on some misguided puritan bologna.

  4. Anonymous

    I would like to hear more about where our 10 million dollars is at this point instead of worrying about what other communities do with great success!

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