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Harmony, Ellery Join Opt Out List

The towns of Ellery and Harmony have voted to opt out of allowing retail cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption sites.

The town boards for each municipality approved local laws regarding marijuana sales following public hearings last week. They are the latest boards to go in that direction, as have most in Chautauqua County, before the Dec. 31 deadline imposed by New York state.

Under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act signed in April by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York residents 21 and older are allowed to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana for recreational use. Residents will be able to buy marijuana from brick-and-mortar dispensaries.

The new law allows for the creation of lounges and other adult-use consumption sites, but those will be limited to establishments with a license.

In the town of Harmony, three people attended last week’s public hearing.

“We left it open to the public,” Supervisor John Brown said of retail cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption sites. “We wanted everybody to have a voice. There were three people, and we wanted to allow them to voice their opinion. That was key, at least to me.”

Most recently, the towns of Gerry and Busti, along with the villages of Bemus Point and Lakewood, have passed local laws to opt out.

The town of Poland held a public hearing Tuesday evening at the town hall. It wasn’t known by press time if the Poland Town Board would vote on a local law opting out.

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