OPINION

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don't waste time or money on cannabis restriction

Letter to the Editor

In regards to the options of the Village of Penn Yan regarding restrictions on cannabis use, please accept this as my public comment. I do not use cannabis products, so my personal interest in restrictions on the sales, use, and regulation thereof are simply those of someone who cares about their community.

I’ve heard different opinions on how the recent legalization will impact our community. I’ve heard that you can possess 5 pounds and no one can do anything about it. I believe that to be incorrect. It’s my understanding that possession of 5 pounds is a felony, and 3 ounces is a misdemeanor and the legalization would apply to small amounts. I’ve heard people worry that someone may stand on the sidewalk or in a playground and blow smoke at children. Certainly we already have laws that address this (perhaps harassment, assault, menacing, or endangering the welfare of a child?).

In regards to sales, we must foster a healthy environment where it is not easier for people to purchase cannabis products on the black or gray market. Making it more difficult to open and operate a dispensary will only be a boon to drug dealers who are selling impure products and may also try to influence prospective cannabis users to purchase their other drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or PCP.

Dispensaries are already highly regulated and expensive to operate and have interest in providing a safe product and good experience to their customers and communities. They are also a source of excellent jobs that would help families of employees thrive in our community. Therefore, in regards to questions 1 and 2, I ask that we do not enact restrictions beyond what they state already requires.

Questions 3-6 relate to prohibition of smoking cannabis or cannabis and tobacco. It’s clear that we should not prohibit cannabis and not tobacco in any scenario due to the state law and disinterest in using taxpayer money to defend a local law which is not consistent with state law. It’s my opinion that smoking should not be prohibited generally in any of these situations. While smoking cannabis products in public has been legal since April, I have not observed it becoming a public nuisance. In fact, I’ve only noticed a smell briefly and on two occasions in the almost six months that it has been legal.

The suggested enforcement of the laws being discussed may involve fines or brief incarceration, both of which would disproportionately impact low income individuals and families. Something that is a brief inconvenient odor for us may cause them to lose their job and income.

I do not wish that our community representatives waste any more time discussing cannabis restriction. I do not wish that our law enforcement community be burdened with enforcing these laws. I do not wish that my tax money be used to prosecute offenders of these laws, nor the surrounding administration of these laws. I do not wish for any cannabis user to be harmed by these laws. I wish that we would look at cannabis legalization as an opportunity to bring good businesses to our area to cut out the black and gray markets and contribute to our community.

Thank you for considering my comments on this matter.

Sincerely,

Phillip Rahr

Penn Yan

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letter writers are responsible for making sure the information they submit is accurate and factual.