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Wilmington City Council on Tuesday passed local laws banning cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption licenses in the city. City supervisor Roy Holzer intends to circulate a petition to put the laws to the ballot next November.

Recreational marijuana was legalized statewide in March, and local governments had until December 31 to pass local laws banning cannabis dispensaries and licenses for on-site consumption within their boundaries. If local governments do not step aside by December 31, their municipality will automatically be accepted.

The city council held public hearings on local laws ahead of its regular meeting on Tuesday. Holzer said about 20 townspeople attended the hearings, and he said all who spoke urged the council to stand down. Holzer said they had a positive chat and everyone seemed “fairly favorable” the idea of ​​putting laws on a ballot and allowing the community to make the final decision.

Local laws refusing to allow cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption licenses are subject to a permissive referendum. While villages can step aside and pass a resolution to put the laws on the ballot, cities must wait until residents file a petition to put the laws on a ballot. If enough residents sign a petition – at least 10% of residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election – and file it within 45 days of the council vote, laws can appear on the next election ballot. general.

Holzer intends to circulate a petition for a referendum as a private citizen of Wilmington. He said city governments don’t have the option of letting residents have such a say.

“I trust the citizens of the city of Wilmington to decide this case”, he said.

Holzer said he believes the year between now and next November’s general election will give the city the opportunity to see how cannabis dispensaries work in other communities.

The board of directors voted 3 to 1 not to allow cannabis dispensaries and voted unanimously not to allow on-site consumption licenses. Councilor Dawn Stevens threw the only “no” to withdraw from clinics, and Councilor Rarilee Conway was absent for the vote.

Stevens said city council voted on the opt-out laws at its last meeting, but had yet to hold public hearings on the laws. Public hearings are needed before a city council can vote on passing a law. Conway was present for the first round of voting and also voted against removing the dispensaries.

Stevens said she knew Holzer intended to circulate a petition, but said she believed people would be looking for areas to set up dispensaries and the city might miss an opportunity.

“If we don’t accept, they won’t look at us” she said.

Stevens added that the “Bad kind of people” do not open dispensaries due to the rigorous and expensive licensing process. She doesn’t think on-site consumer licensing is a good idea, as she said people would be “hang out”. From what she saw around Plattsburgh, she said that wasn’t the case with dispensaries – she said it was like a liquor store.

Stevens predicts that citizens of the city will vote in favor of allowing dispensaries. She added that many people, like some veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, are in need of cannabis products for medical reasons.

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