Watertown says no to marijuana sales despite NY legalization

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WATERTOWN (AP) — Lawmakers in Watertown voted to keep retail marijuana shops from opening in the northern New York city.

The city council opted Watertown out of New York’s new marijuana legalization law after a marathon public hearing Monday night, according to WWNY-TV.

New York approved a legalization bill in March that will allow sales of recreational-use cannabis. Sales are expected to begin next year. But the state law allows local governments to pass stricter rules on marijuana use and to prohibit retail dispensaries.

Twenty-six people spoke at the hearing, most in favor of opting into the state law.

“I’m asking, why wouldn’t you want to keep all of your city residents who do smoke marijuana, give them a safe place to buy marijuana, where it’s controlled?” Joanne Hughes asked.

Council members said they wanted more guidance from Albany and noted they could still opt back in later.

Also, the public can petition the council to hold a referendum.

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