Oneida, N.Y. — After much deliberation, the Oneida Common Council voted 4-2 to opt-out of licensing and establishing retail cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments within the city.

Members of the council voiced support for retail dispensaries but wanted to opt-in at a later time if they so choose.

Preceding the vote was a final plea from residents asking the council to make legal cannabis legally accessible within the city.

Dee Schaefer, who spoke at the public hearing two weeks ago on the local law, stated, “If one of the concerns is driving under the influence, you do have to consider alcohol as well.” She continued, “I don’t now use medical marijuana, but there may become a time when I need to and frankly, I would rather use cannabis other than opioids to control my pain level. Opioids are horribly addictive. Just look at the drug problem in our city. Heroin, methamphetamines, they are killing our young people.”

She said she hoped spending on cannabis could be done in the city, legally, instead of elsewhere.

Todd Peveler stated to the council, “Why would we pass up the revenue now when we can have something that we can sell that is legal?”

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