The Peekskill Common Council heard a wide array of opinions last week during a public hearing on the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) enacted in New York State in late March that legalized recreational pot and gave the green light for retail dispensaries and consumption sites, also known as lounges, to locate in all communities.
Each municipality has until December 31 to adopt a local law that prohibits such businesses, which is referred to as opting out of the regulations. If elected officials take no action, the municipality is automatically opted in, but local boards can pass legislation that governs the hours and location of the businesses.
If an elected body opts out, residents have 45 days to submit a petition to force a public referendum.
During a work session discussion on September 20, the majority of the Peekskill Common Council supported allowing retail marijuana dispensaries to set up shop in city limits.
In the spring, the city sent an online survey to residents seeking input. As of September 8, the city revealed there were 1,191 responses, with 71% supporting dispensaries and 65% supporting café lounges.
John Donahue, an 89-year Peekskill resident and former state trooper, made a lengthy,