Lake George opts out of cannabis sales

New York

Lake George, N.Y. (Photo: Jay Petrequin)

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The village board in Lake George voted Monday to opt out of allowing cannabis to be sold within its borders, passing legislation that prohibits the opening of both marijuana dispensaries and cafes, or other businesses where it can be consumed.

The unanimous vote followed a public hearing last month on whether a shop on Canada Street or elsewhere would be a welcome addition to the tourist community. The opt-out vote comes in advance of a state deadline of Dec. 31 for municipalities to make the decision.

“It was very well attended,” said Lake George Village Mayor Bob Blais on Wednesday. “Everyone at the hearing spoke against it.”

Blais said four main reasons drove the decision to opt out. Many people at September’s public meeting were local business owners, who said that legalized marijuana consumption had led to instances of property damage by patrons.

Another concern was that marijuana in Lake George could require a larger police presence. Neither the village or the town of Lake George has its own police department. Both rely on enforcement from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

The third reason against a dispensary, Blais said, came down to image. Lake George sees tens of thousands of visitors a year, especially in the summer, as a thriving tourist destination.

“The image of dispensaries and the long lines was a concern to a lot of people,” he said.

Lastly, the village has heard many complaints about smoking. Currently, smoking is prohibited on all property owned by the village.

While sale will be prohibited in the village, people will be allowed to smoke marijuana wherever they could smoke a cigarette.

Meanwhile, the tone is different to the south. The city of Glens Falls has been vocally in favor of opening a dispensary or cafe, or of having one as a neighbor in the town of Queensbury. 42 Degrees smoke shop owner Robin Barkhagen already has plans for one drawn up.

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