Colonie bans on-site marijuana consumption

COLONIE — The Town Board unanimously voted to ban on-site marijuana consumption venues last week.

“The town will be allowing marijuana growers to conduct business in the town, and we will be allowing retail sales to take place,” Town Attorney Mike Maguilli said during the Town Board meeting. “What it will prohibit is on-site consumption premises within the town.”

At the moment, Colonie appears to be among the first municipalities in the Capital Region to partially or fully opt out of the newly legalized recreational marijuana industry. However, other local municipalities have begun exploring opting out by the Dec. 31 deadline. Ballston was expected to vote on a use on-site opt-out soon. Guilderland has set a public hearing to discuss a full or partial opt-out on Sept. 21.

Colonie’s legislation will be subject to a referendum in 30 days. But a July public hearing only drew two residents, who asked questions about the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana, but otherwise did not voice strong opinions in favor of, or against, the local legislation.

At July’s town board meeting, Supervisor Paula Mahan voiced that the town is attempting to take precautions and aid law enforcement in preventing driving under the influence of marijuana.

However, advocates said data shows such concerns about usage increase and road safety haven’t held merit in other states that have legalized recreational marijuana. 

“This is one of those things where people think legalization will suddenly flip a switch and there will be a dramatic change in usage,” Melissa Moore, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, told the Times Union in July. “That simply isn’t what panned out in other states.”




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