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Gorham will hold public vote August 9 to decide whether town ‘opts in’ for marijuana sales

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article referred to the Town of Gorham as ‘opting in’ to allow the sale and on-site consumption of adult-use recreational marijuana. In actuality, the Gorham Town Board voted 3-1 in December 2021 to ‘opt out’ of marijuana sales and on-site consumption. This article has been updated to correct this error.


UPDATE: The Gorham Town Board has scheduled its special election on the issue of marijuana sales and on-site consumption for August 9.

The Gorham Town Board held a public hearing on this matter at its May 11 meeting. At that same meeting, the Board set the date for the special election.

The intent of the public vote is for residents to decide whether to reverse the Board’s initial decision to opt out of marijuana sales and on-site consumption or keep the decision in place. Gorham residents can cast their vote in August at their normal polling location.

Related: How does New York’s cannabis licensing rollout compare to other states?

Special election set for August 9

A group of residents gathered enough petition signatures to put the issue of marijuana sales up for a vote in a special election. The petition was approved by the Board of Elections, followed by the Town Board voting 3-2 in April to allow a special election.

“We have seasonal businesses, tourism, million-dollar homes,” said Ann Marie St. George, co-owner of St. George’s Grocery & Deli and Pizza Sangiorgi in Gorham, according to Democrat & Chronicle.

Allowing marijuana sales and consumption sites in the town “is like Neiman Marcus selling jewelry,” she added.

St. George was one of the main driving forces behind the petition campaign that advocated for a public vote on marijuana sales and on-site consumption. She also led a petition drive in 2013 that resulted in alcohol sales being permitted in Gorham hotels, restaurants and taverns for the first time.

Related: New York’s Cannabis Control Board passes licensing regulations

Gorham Town Board voted 3-1 to opt out last year

Gorham Town Board voted 3-1 last December to opt out of allowing retail sales and on-site consumption of marijuana. Town Supervisor Fred Lightfoote was the lone dissenting vote. The deadline for communities across New York to make their decision was December 31, 2021.

Lightfoote said there wasn’t enough information available on how the law would be implemented. That was the complaint from a number of communities, who criticized the state Office of Cannabis Management for its slow rollout.

Communities that opted out of marijuana sales are allowed to opt back in at any point. Likewise, those that opted in are allowed to reverse that decision as well.

Related: Will there be retail marijuana shops near me in the Finger Lakes or Central New York? Here’s every town and village that opted out