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KEENE — The Keene Town Board voted unanimously to opt out of licensing marijuana on-site consumption establishments, popularly known as pot bars, at their monthly meeting Tuesday, Oct. 12.
Voting were Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson and Town Council members Jennifer Whitney, Teresa Cheetham-Palen, Bob Biesemeyer and David Deyo.
When it came to opting out of licensing retail marijuana dispensaries, however, there was a split vote of 3 to 2, with Cheetham-Palen and Wilson voting to opt in.
The next step is to draft a local law, which Wilson will do; hold a public hearing, which will be at the Oct. 26 meeting; and pass the law by the end of the year 2021 at a date to be determined.
Referring to the New York Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, Biesemeyer explained, “My number one reason for opting out is that according to the state law, once you opt in, it’s a done deal. You can never opt out again.” He prefers a wait-and-see approach.
If the board did nothing before the end of the year, the town would by default allow the licensing of retail cannabis establishments, which would be