Mahopac / Carmel Town Supervisor Ken Schmitt Undecided on Recreational Marijuana
Ken Schmitt has been the Town Supervisor for Carmel, NY and the Hamlet of Mahopac for 14 years and will seek re-election again this year. This election season he'll answer questions he's never had to before when seeking the office.
Schmitt will be asked and have to answer questions about the sale of recreational marijuana in Carmel and Mahopac. New York State has legalized marijuana for recreational use but each municipality in the State has the option to "opt out" on allowing retail sales at dispensaries according to News 10.
Schmitt joined the Ethan and Lou Show on Wednesday (4/28/21) and they asked the Supervisor where Carmel and Mahopac are leaning on the issue.
"I have had calls from residents and business owners concerned about the legislation or legalization of marijuana for recreational use and the folks that I've heard from are very much opposed to it. And, you know it's up to the individual towns Ethan and Lou, we have to decide by the end of this year whether we want to opt out of allowing the dispensaries and alike in the Town of Carmel and Mahopac area.
But, we can opt out but I will tell you that we still are assessing our options and we haven't made a decision on that yet."
We asked the Supervisor who makes that final determination - is it his to make? Or, is it up to the Town Board? He says the decision belongs to Carmel's five member Town Board that he is a member of. Schmitt also made clear that no businesses have approached the Town with interest in opening a dispensary.
We asked about what could be lost, should the town decide to opt out. If Mahopac and Carmel opt out, there could be lost revenue, revenue that may end up in a neighboring town. Schmitt responded:
"Well, that's when you have what's called a checkerboard. You have a checkerboard of municipalities. And you are right, if the Village of Brewster or the Town of Southeast or the Town of Kent or Somers you know, decide not to opt out and you have the dispensaries, right you are going to have people crossing over, you know, town and county jurisdictional lines to go to where they need to go, where they can legally purchase it."
Schmitt brought up law enforcement officers having to make DUI traffic stops, saying:
"You know the other side of the issue is, I'm just going to talk a little bit about law enforcement, I'm going to put my retired police officer hat on for a minute. It's very difficult for police officers out in the field to determine a level of intoxication or the level, if you will of someone being, that has smoked marijuana, for them to determine what threshold they're at as far as testing goes.
Because right now, there is no chemical test that I am aware of for the presence of marijuana. The police officers in the field are going to have to rely on their observations as opposed to a chemical test that they have for say, alcoholic beverages."
We asked Scmitt whether or not he's discussed the issue with the leadership of neighboring towns and he said there have been initial discussions.
"I've spoken with my colleagues from other towns and they're, at this point, they haven't made a decision on it either, Lou. Because they are still examining all the different options that perhaps may be available and the law is 100 pages, 100 pages of legislation and to be honest with you, I haven't read through the entire document at this point, but you know we plan on doing that before we make a decision.
We want to make an educated decision on this as opposed to just saying, eh well we're not going to do it. We're going to learn a lot more about the law and the legislation the way it reads before we make a final decision."
Full interview below
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