“Now we have a new opportunity for the city of Albany to generate income, to invest in the city of Albany,” said Councilor Owusu Anane, who represents Ward 10, the Pine Hills Ward.
Anane says council members agree that legal marijuana businesses can play a role in the city’s financial resurgence.
The city joins Troy, Schenectady and Saratoga Springs in saying “yes” to cannabis dispensaries and consumption sites. So far, Watervliet and Lake George are among the cities saying ‘no’ at the moment, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government Marijuana Opt-Out Tracker.
“Many of my colleagues understand that this is a new opportunity to which we cannot say no,” said Anane.
The council sees the potential for a pot of gold in tax money in a city where many economic drivers are tax exempt.
“We must maximize and take advantage of it to be able to continue to finance services such as the police service, firefighters, the general service which collects our waste, income to repair our roads, our parks”, he declared.
NewsChannel 13 also spoke with Joint Council Chairman Corey Ellis, who told us the pot will not just bring new storefronts, but a whole new industry of advertisers and other businesses to grow with it. .
Ellis and Anane say the council seeks to help bring jobs back to areas of the city where minorities have been disproportionately affected by the marijuana police.
The role of the municipal council will largely be the zoning of dispensaries.
“We’re not going to open a bar across from a church or across from a school. So we’re going to put in place some of these types of zoning actions when we open marijuana dispensaries, ”said
In 2022, Anane says neighbors of Albany can expect to see public forums where people can help the city decide where to locate the new dispensaries.