“Now we have a new opportunity for the city of Albany to generate revenue, to invest into the city of Albany,” said Councilman Owusu Anane, who represents Ward 10, the Pine Hills neighborhood.
Anane says council members agree 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’ for now, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government Marijuana Opt-Out Tracker.
“Many of my colleagues understand that this is a new opportunity that we cannot say no to,” Anane said.
The council sees the potential for a pot of gold in tax money in a city where many economic engines are tax-exempt.
“We have to maximize and take advantage of it so we can continue to fund services like the police department, the fire department, the department of general service that picks up our trash, revenue to fix our roads, our parks,” he said.
NewsChannel 13 also spoke to Common Council President Corey Ellis, who told us pot will not just bring new storefronts, but a whole new industry of advertisers and other businesses to grow along with it.
Ellis and Anane say the council is looking to help bring jobs back to areas of the city where minorities were disproportionately impacted by the policing of marijuana.
The common council’s role will largely be zoning for dispensaries.
“We’re not going to open a bar across from a church or across from a school. So we’re going to have some of those types of zoning actions in place when we come to open up marijuana dispensaries,” said
In 2022, Anane says neighbors in Albany can expect to start to see public forums where people can help the city decide where to put the new dispensaries.