Three Onondaga County villages will have residents vote on whether or not to sell marijuana

Local News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — New York towns, cities and villages have until the end of the year to decide whether they want to sell marijuana in their communities or opt out.

At the end of March 2021, New York made recreational marijuana legal. To get ahead, the Village of Fayetteville, Manlius and Minoa are asking residents to voice what it is they think is best for their community.

Those three villages are the first in Onondaga County to allow the public to vote yes or no on the law.

It’s too important of an issue to say, ‘as an elected leader, we know what’s best for you.’ I don’t think that’s right to do that. We’re going to have to deal with that if different communities say ‘yes’, but it is their right and I think they should be heard.

Mayor Mark Olson, Village of Fayetteville

Under the state’s rule, any town, city or village can choose to opt out of allowing businesses or dispensaries to sell marijuana within geographic boundaries.

Some municipalities want the public’s input. Others stand by elected officials making he decision for the community.

However, only villages can make the public vote on the law. The village must first opt out, then have its residents vote.

Local municipalities do not have authority to ban someone from buying the drug elsewhere or possess it. Though, the villages in the town of Manlius are thinking this is a way to ease the burden on law enforcement.

“Fayetteville is a little bit unique because in the town of Manlius, there’s the village of Fayetteville, Manlius and Minoa, but we’re protected by one police department, the Manlius Police Department” Mayor Olson explained. “If we had three different rules or three different laws on the books for this legislation, it would be heard for police to enforce.”

Before any decision is made, a vote from the three village’s residents needs to hapspen.

“A vote by the public is the best option, to see what they have to say. We want to hear what they want. Do they want one in their community? Do they not want one in their community?” — Mayor Mark Olson

The deadline for municipalities to make a decision is December 31, 2021. However, if they choose to take no action, businesses are automatically allowed to sell.

“Maybe Fayetteville says ‘yes’ and Minoa and Manlius say ‘no’, then the police are going to have to deal with that. We can deal with it either way, but we want to hear what they have to say because I think it’s so different and so important,” Mayor Olson said.

The village of Fayetteville’s first meeting is scheduled for June 14 to adopt the local law to opt out. Then, a referendum vote by the residents can occur at a later date, says a village spokesperson.

Below is a statement from the Mayor of Minoa. NewsChannel 9 also reached out to the Manlius Mayor and are still awaiting a response.

Statement from Mayor William Brazill, Village of Minoa

“In a discussion with the Village of Minoa Board, we are onboard to have our residents decide with a referendum vote on allowing dispensaries in the Village.  We have not set a public hearing for opting out of this ruling yet.  We will decide in the next couple months on when we will have the public hearing.”

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