Pre-Season Sale! $259 per ton - Premium Wood Pellets, Delivery Available - Curtis Lumber

B y Dan King

Bearing his “Vote Hemp” coffee mug at last week’s Washington County Board of Supervisors meeting, Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff encouraged his colleagues to turn down extra funds in the war against marijuana.

“With the looming heroin epidemic, I’m very disappointed that Richard Nixon’s 1970s war on marijuana is still happening,” Haff told the board.

A resolution brought to the board suggested it amend the budget for the Sheriff’s Department to include a $6,000 “Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression ProgramDana Haff Headshot 2015 Grant.” Those extra funds would be used by the Sheriff’s Department to combat marijuana.

Haff said he felt there were “much better” things that the Sheriff’s Department could be worried about, such as the perceived heroin epidemic in the county. Sheriff Jeff Murphy has referred to Route 4 as “the Heroin Highway,” because of large quantities of heroin coming from Rutland, Vt., into New York and vice versa.

“What we should do is legalize it, regulate it and tax it,” Haff added, referring to marijuana.

Jackson Supervisor Alan Brown and Dresden Supervisor George Gang echoed Haff’s sentiment about legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

When it ultimately came time to vote on using the $6,000 grant to combat marijuana, only Haff voted no, with Brown saying “I don’t care.”

Haff has long been a supporter of medical and recreational marijuana, as well as industrial hemp. He drinks coffee from the “Vote Hemp” mug at every county board meeting. He said he believes that legalizing marijuana could save the Sheriff’s Department a lot of time and money.

A 2010 study titled “The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition,” conducted by the CATO Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank, estimates that legalizing drugs would save “roughly $41.3 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. Of these savings, $25.7 billion would accrue to state and local governments, while $15.6 billion would accrue to the federal government. Approximately $8.7 billion of the savings would result from legalization of marijuana and $32.6 billion from legalization of other drugs.”

Haff said he felt the tax revenue that comes in from legalizing marijuana would be beneficial.

The CATO study goes on to estimate that “yield tax revenue of $46.7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. Approximately $8.7 billion of this revenue would result from legalization of marijuana and $38.0 billion from legalization of other drugs.”

Additionally, Haff spearheaded an effort at the county level to get a medical marijuana growing facility approved by New York State in the town of Jackson. The state ultimately awarded five registered growing facilities and the proposed Jackson facility, at a former mushroom-growing location, did not make the cut.

During those discussions Haff continually pointed to the fact that Washington County ranks last of 57 counties in the state in sales tax revenue as an additional reason to support a growing facility in the county.

Other area municipalities also pledged support for the proposed growing facility, including the towns of Whitehall, Dresden and Hartford.

Medical marijuana in New York will have a hefty excise tax on it, 22.5 percent of which will go to the county where it is grown and another 22.5 percent to the county where it is sold.

Each of the five growing facilities must deal with very strict guidelines. The licenses for a registered growing facility must be renewed every two years by the state, and the licenses require stringent security measures, adequate land for growing, adequate money for operating and a labor agreement.

The state reserves the power to immediately repeal a license if a company does not comply with the rules and regulations.

New York is the 23rd state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use, while four of those have also legalized it for recreational use. New York’s law is set to go into effect on Jan. 1.

Comments

comments


Tags:

Poultney makerspace and skills center to open Sept. 26

REclaimED

A makerspace is a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and […]

North Country FreePress, September 25, 2020

Lakes Region FreePress, September 25, 2020

Chasin’ Racin’ – Great Race Place

Chasin Racin #20

By Mark Kane It was great to get back to the racing action at the “Great Race Place” Albany Saratoga […]

Granville Sentinel 9.24.20

Police Beat, Sept. 24

Granville Police Department Sept. 10 3:36 p.m. Benje C. Larico of New York City was ticketed for speeding on North […]

Whitehall Times 9.24.20

Everyone Eats arrives in Poultney

Everyone Eats

The Poultney Rotary Club and Young at Heart Senior Center have teamed up with the Vermont Farmer’s Food Center, the […]

School district awaits insurance claim

118460951_3929653440381376_3186711997289802640_n

By Jay Mullen Whitehall Central School District is still waiting for the New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal to give them […]

‘Car cruise’ to replace car show

By Austin Crosier The consequences of COVID-19 have forced people of all walks of life to change gears and improvise […]

Pub on Main Street hires new head chef

Owner Vicky Hale poses for the camera behind the bar.

By Austin Crosier After being located across the bridge at 1 West Main Street in Granville since 2016, Vicky Hale […]

Loss of aid threatens to impact school plans

Seated Left to Right: Ashlee Zinn, Granville Central School District Superintendent Thomas McGurl, Granville Central School District Board of Education President Audrey Hicks.

By Austin Crosier Granville Central School District superintendent Thomas McGurl was bluntly honest in his monthly report to the Board […]