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Cassadaga To Hold Hearing On Marijuana Dispensaries

Around the table, clockwise starting from left, are Bill Astry, Joseph Calimeri, Bonita Mazzone, Roxanne Astry, Bill Dorman, Rachyl Krupa, Cindy Flaherty, and Mark Wilson. Photo by Anthony Dolce

CASSADAGA — For the second straight meeting, members of the Cassadaga Village Board elected to table the issue of whether they want marijuana dispensaries located within village limits.

Despite tabling it, the board did make some progress on making a decision.

The board reached a consensus that they would have Cassadaga Village Attorney Joseph Calimeri draft the law to opt out of allowing dispensaries in Cassadaga, which would then be introduced at their next meeting on July 28. Should the board approve to move forward with the law, a public hearing would be held before the following meeting on Aug. 11. The reason the board opted to go this route is because they wanted to hold a public hearing on the issue anyway.

“Just because you guys offer up a law doesn’t mean you have to go through with it,” Calimeri said. “Even if you adopted the law, you’d have to have a public hearing anyway. You can always come back and not make it a law.”

Board members themselves are each torn on the issue. Board members Cindy Flaherty, Mark Wilson, Rachel Krupa, and Bill Astry each pondered the question of whether dispensaries are a fit for Cassadaga. While the consensus seemed to be that people should have the freedom to do what they wish, there seemed to be some opposition to marijuana being sold within the village.

“It’s funny because you can find as many pros as cons,” Flaherty said. “It’s about half and half in the communit — half are for it, half are against it. I’ve talked to former addicts; I’ve talked to police officers. It’s up to us, there’s nothing really strong one way or the other.”

A large factor in the village’s apprehension is other neighboring municipalities, including Jamestown, that will most likely allow dispensaries. Most on the board seemed to feel strongly that the people who want to can go to those places.

“Is this something we want to support?” Wilson asked, “or would we rather have a shoe store there, or a dentist? I’m all for the freedom of what people want to do with their lives but it’s a matter of this is something we want to support in Cassadaga. Other towns will have it. People can go there.”

Despite their apprehension, the village board and Mayor Bill Dorman will wait for a public hearing to see if there is a silent majority of people who would welcome dispensaries into the village of Cassadaga. A date for the public hearing has not yet been set, but the opt out law is expected to be introduced at the next meeting on July 28.

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