Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Marijuana in the Adirondacks

marijuanaThe Explorer’s website, AdirondackExplorer.org, recently published a story contemplating the potential for marijuana to drive new tourism business in the park if local governments are open to allowing dispensaries. Under New York law, communities will have until the end of the year to decide whether they want to prohibit such businesses. Opting out would mean no local sales, but it wouldn’t make marijuana possession illegal under state law.

Beyond our core issues of the environment and outdoor recreation, we at the Explorer track rural economics affecting the park and its communities. So the questions surrounding new business and taxation are sure to generate intriguing stories as this new market emerges. Will cannabis and the Adirondacks, as one source in the story suggests, provide the sort of “match made in heaven” that some nature lovers seek? Will legalization and sales create new problems in a park already attracting millions of visitors? Time will tell.

In the meantime, we’re considering the question of local sales as the basis for a crowd-sourced “It’s Debatable” column for our next magazine issue. If you’re interested in weighing in, you can email me or any of us at the Explorer, or you can join the discussion already happening on our affiliated website, AdirondackAlmanack.com. We’d appreciate your insights. If we publish them in the print magazine, we’ll need your correct name and the community where you reside, so please provide an email address where we can reach you.

The question we’re pondering is not so much whether legalization is appropriate. The state has already made that decision. What’s left to decide is whether Adirondack communities — one or all — should embrace this market.

Stock photo from pexels.com

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Brandon’s weekly “Explore More” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Brandon Loomis is a former Adirondack Explorer editor.

26 Responses

  1. nathan says:

    twisty windy roads, no lights at night…great place for high drivers to kill more families, deer, bears, ect. legalize pot and hire more police to enforce DWI laws? got enough drunk drivers already in adirondacks…but other side of the coin, visitors will bring the weed anyway, so might as well make tax money from it and hire more police to help keep citizens safe, and towns should create stiffer fines for DWI. Maybe people will think and say no to smoking ? They would never smoke a cigerrette, but smokes pot. pretty funny. 911 call, high hiker fell and won Darwin award, or broke leg, send rescue crews. they are not likely to carry case of beer hiking, but a ounce of weed, yup.

    • Scott says:

      Here comes the pearl clutching with a side of ridiculous claims. ReEfEr MaDnEsS!!!

    • NOTover reacting says:

      I think you are being entirely too modest. The death sentence should be applied to anyone who thinks they have the right to control what does or does not go in their own bodies. Especially plants.

  2. Doug says:

    It seems that these days if enough people do something and it can be taxed, legalization is at least considered. I don’t think good things come from this. What is next, a casino in Lake Placid?

    I believe having dispensaries will be detrimental to the ADKs. Yes it’s legal. Yes folks can bring it with them. But I believe dispensaries will attract people that won’t appreciate the ADKs for what it is.

  3. Bill Keller says:

    Let the residents make the decision with a vote. If you leave it up to the various elected officials they’ll screw it up. Yet another tax revenue stream to waste away. Property taxes never decrease, school taxes never decrease, so where does the windfall tax money go?

  4. Thomas Marinis says:

    We should finally embrace a “cannabis culture” that will remove the stigma from legal cannabis here in the Adirondacks.
    There are statistics as to how many people died last week from alcohol related events. There was not a single fatality from cannabis in that same period of time, or has there ever been.
    The financial benefits available to small communities and small communities first time to have the opportunity to take some of the money from money spent by their constituents and use it in their community.
    Also communities could embrace research technology cultures providing incentives to companies that want to produce high quality research through cannabis.
    Through production, manufacturing and distribution the opportunities at this point are almost limitless and especially lucrative potentially for small businesses.

  5. Ryan Finnigan says:

    This is a great opportunity for Adirondack communities. I would gladly purchase regulated cannabis products from dispensaries in the region when I arrive for recreation. There is great potential here for economic growth and increased tax revenue. Also, the jobs and tax revenue this new industry would provide can help to offset the loss of jobs and tax revenue from the inevitable decline is snowmobile recreation due to a shorter season and loss of snowpack from the effects of climate change.

  6. Boreas says:

    Much of the discussion of this issue revolves around whether we want “them” coming to our area just to buy weed. This is silly. The populated areas around us will have dispensaries long before we do. “These people” will come here to vacation whether we have dispensaries or not. Does it make more sense to make “them” happy by having dispensaries, or have them not come because we are illogically afraid of “them”? These are ordinary people, just like people who smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol and gamble.

    Then there is the other side of the equation. Why should Park residents be required to drive long distances out of the Park to obtain legal substances? Would we require the same for cigarettes or alcohol?

    This is a silly argument. If we want to keep residents here and possibly attract new ones, restricting legal services and products is not the way to do it.

  7. Steve Gloo says:

    The business of pot is a loser. The state is motivated by the tax income. A dispensary that employs a few people is not a financial boom for a local economy. In the end, all the other local businesses will suffer as money spent getting stoned leaves town.

    • Bill Keller says:

      It’s not the jobs it’s the 13% tax on retail sales not the number of jobs. With 9% going to the state and 4% to the community the sale is made in. Take a look around, retail businesses are finding it difficult to find employees, it’s not a job issue. ” In the end, all the other local businesses will suffer as money spent getting stoned leaves town”, but spending the money on booze is OK because the money spent on booze stays in the town?

  8. Jim S. says:

    I think people will smoke so much weed they will forget to stop at the breweries to have a beer.

  9. Zephyr says:

    It’s fine with me as long as I’m not subjected to your second-hand smoke and people partake responsibly, but I strongly suspect the financial windfall towns hope for will not materialize. I look at it this way–most of us only have so much money to spend, and if we don’t spend it on one thing we’ll spend it on another. I don’t see lots of people holding onto hordes of cash waiting to spend it in dispensaries. Same thing happened with casinos–a very mixed bag economically. Sure, some casino operators have made lots of money, but the host towns not so much in many cases. Once every town has a dispensary any economic gain will become very diffuse. By the way, I can’t stand the smell of traditional weed being burned–worse than skunk!

  10. Fweedom Fighter says:

    I’m all for it. If you don’t like smoke just vape or edibles are for you or nothing at all if that’s what you like. If it’s not there I’ll just remember to bring some extra though ;p

    Seriously tho folks lighten up a little and stop being so negative. Life is to short… and awesome! Peace

  11. Educated Consumer says:

    There’s a real public education gap around cannabis today. When I heard a town official asked about the potential for cannabis sales in Lake Placid and they responded with something to the effect of “I don’t want people smoking bongs on Main St.” This is indicative of a lack of knowledge around cannabis, who’s using it, how its sold and how its consumed.

    The thing people often most remark about after visiting a dispensary is the incredibly wide range of shoppers. Everyone from 18-80 from every walk of life.

    Smoking a bong is probably one of the less common method of consumption today. Vaping, oral capsules, topical, edibles, sublingual and even in some cases suppositories are all available cannabis consumption methods today.

    People who are completely uneducated about cannabis will be making decisions about cannabis sales in New York state over the coming months. Its unfortunate.

    Decision makers in Adirondack communities should educate themselves before making these decisions. they should not be made with some outdated knowledge or ideas about cannabis.

    While it’s not going to be the right fit for every Adirondack town, Lake Placid should absolutely allow cannabis sales, but definitely not on Main Street. I have spent time buying in a small town in Western MA and can say I feel many of the negative narratives that play out around these discussions are simply not true, but the crowds & lines can absolutely be an issue.

    Town officials should take a trip to, or at least reach out to speak with, existing dispensaries in Western MA. For their experiences. Silver Therapeutics in Williamstown is a great example of a successful small town dispensary. A podcast in that area stated Williamstown received nearly 400k in tax revenue from the first year of legal cannabis there. Not sure if it’s true, they are always super busy, but if so its a staggering number for such a small community with 1 dispensary.

    Legal cannabis is estimated to employ some 325k people in the US right now (businesswire 2.16.2021)

    Bottom line, people need to start educating themselves. Recreational cannabis sales & consumption should be treated it no different than alcohol, perhaps slightly more favorably as the risks for damage are not associated.

    There’s even a lot of poor information being spread in the comments here. Unfortunate.

    • Boreas says:

      Agreed. If Cheech and Chong ran the dispensary, it could be an issue. But they are characters, not real people. The dispensary I visited near Cape Cod was professional to the max – with a line of people going out the door. That means revenue.They sold both medicinal and recreational cannabis, but on different sides of the store. I don’t think many newspapers make it into this area.

  12. michael j henry says:

    Yes, take advantage and your community will benefit in so many wsys…

  13. Jacqueline Wohlers says:

    I Don’t believes it should be illegal to posses even if communities decide not to sell.

  14. geogymn says:

    After a long hard day at work some people consume a beer or martini to gear down. Others smoke a doobie. The mountains are a great place to gear down from the frenetic pace of life. I am for anything that makes people slow down, the smoother the down shift the better.


    Considering the The incredible amounts of drinking to go on there pretty much all the time I say it’s a welcome relief. The only thing you’re deciding is are you gonna make it a pain in the ass drive to Utica or not. And that’s just inconveniencing people because your petty.

  16. JohnL says:

    Don’t care one way or the other on this one. One point though. If you think the money taken in in ‘taxes’ on the sale of marijuana is going to reduce your ‘other’ taxes or fund ‘other things’ that will make your life better in any way, you’re seriously deluded. It also won’t be used to reduce NY States $130-$150 BILLION dollar debt. Remember the promises made in years past re gambling revenue and education, or with thruway tolls. The state/countys are just gonna spend it on something new, and stupid.
    Full disclosure. I’m not a marijuana user.

  17. Akira Gamz says:

    Good for the health.

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