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An Open Letter to the Dansville Village Voters - Just Vote No to the Opt-Out of Cannabis Retail Establishments

An Open Letter to the Dansville Village Voters - Just Vote No to the Opt-Out of Cannabis Retail Establishments

Posted by Steven Litteer, Certified Ganjier on Feb 11th 2022

Dear Dansville Village Residents:

As you might have heard already, there is a vote scheduled on February 15, 2022 from 12:00PM to 9:00PM at the Dansville Town Hall (14 Clara Barton St) concerning the Village of Dansville’s opt-out (prohibition) of licensed Marijuana Dispensaries and On-Site Consumption Establishments from being able to conduct business within the Village.

When considering your vote, we believe it is important that you are educated on the facts regarding the matter before making a final decision. It is my hope that after your reading this letter, you will “Just Vote No” to both propositions that will be on the February 15th ballot:

Vote Now or Forever Hold Your Peace - To be clear, the Village Town Board has already made the decision to opt-out of allowing retail cannabis dispensaries and on-site cannabis consumption establishments. The only way for that decision to be reversed is for you to “Just Vote No” on February 15th, 2022. With this vote, you as the voters within the village of Dansville will have the final say. Your decision, whatever it may be, will be final and cannot be overturned by the Mayor, the Town Board or any other authority within Dansville. You must therefore vote now or forever hold your peace.

Marijuana Has Been Legal to Possess, Display and Consume in All of New York State Since March 31, 2021 -Lets also be clear that this is not a vote on whether marijuana should be legal in Dansville. Marijuana is already legal throughout all of New York State and has been since the time the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was signed into law on March 31, 2021. Marijuana is legal to possess as well as publicly display and consume anywhere you can publicly consume tobacco products.

Upholding the Opt-Out Will Not Prevent Non-Retail Type Marijuana Businesses from Establishing or Conducting Business in Dansville - This vote will not prevent non-retail type marijuana businesses from conducting business within the village of Dansville. As such, marijuana growers, processors, distributors and delivery companies will still be able to establish and conduct their business within Dansville, even if the voters decide to uphold the opt-out. The only type of marijuana businesses that this vote can prohibit are retail dispensaries and/or on-site consumption establishments (i.e., the retail sector of the cannabis supply chain). Therefore, anyone who believes that upholding the opt-out will eradicate the presence of marijuana legalization within the village of Dansville is mistaken. The only thing upholding the opt-out will do is guarantee that the village will receive no economic benefit from the presence of the marijuana industry and it will effectively evict a small-business (i.e., 4Fathers Organics) that set roots in the village more than 2 years ago.

It is Important to Do Your Own Research & Make an Informed Decision - During the 80+ years of cannabis prohibition in America, a lot of misinformation has been perpetuated to make people believe that marijuana is a dangerous drug that should be outlawed. Come to find out, most of the information that has been historically spread about marijuana is not supported by fact or science. Fortunately, the facts surrounding cannabis are now widely available to the public. If you haven’t done a lot of research on the topic or if you just want to learn more about it, watching any of the following documentaries is a great place to start:

  • 1.Emperor of Hemp - The Jack Herer Story
  • 2.The Culture High
  • 3.Grass is Greener
  • 4.CBD Nation
  • 5.Unprescribed

Dispelling the Common Myths & Misconceptions About Cannabis - It is also important for us to dispel the most common myths and misconceptions about recreational cannabis legalization so that we can begin to talk about cannabis for what it is, rather than what it is feared to be.

  • 1.Myth: Cannabis legalization increases underage cannabis consumption.

Reality: Numerous studies have been done showing that legalization does not cause an increase in underage cannabis consumption; in fact, it is the opposite. A study released by the American Medical Association in September 2021[1] demonstrated a decrease in teen usage of cannabis following legalization. Furthermore, just as is the case with alcohol, licensed marijuana dispensaries will have a big economic incentive to ensure that they are not selling their products to anyone under the age of 21. Any licensed cannabis retailer who sells to minors will be subject to immediate revocation of their license (which will be expensive) and will be subject to sanctions and penalties just as is the case with establishments holding a liquor license.

  • 2.Myth: Cannabis is a gateway drug.

Reality: This is probably one of the oldest existing myths about cannabis even though numerous studies on the subject have shown cannabis is not a gateway drug. The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse does not support the gateway theory. According to their 2020 factsheet[2], “the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other ‘harder’ substances.” There are even provisional signs[3] that legal cannabis is linked to lower opioid mortalities, directly contradicting prohibitionists’ dire warnings. A 2021 National Bureau of Economic Research study explored the link between cannabis and harder drug use in legal states like Colorado and Washington, concluding that: “long-run gateway effects have not materialized in the eight years following their adoption[4].”

  • 3.Myth: Cannabis legalization leads to an increase in crime.

Reality: No, it does not. A 2019 study published in Regional Science and Urban Economics, have indicated that crime rates drop significantly when states transition from cannabis prohibition to adult-use legalization. This is not new information considering that The LaGuardia Committee Report, prepared in 1944 by the New York Academy of Medicine found, among thirteen other conclusions, that: “marihuana is not the determining factor in the commission of major crimes” and that “the publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marihuana smoking in New York City is unfounded.”

  • 4.Myth: Legal Cannabis leads to more traffic accidents.

Reality: There is no credible evidence supporting this. In April of 2021, two economists from the University of Colorado at Denver and Montana State University published a comprehensive review[5] of public health consequences of cannabis legalization, for the National Bureau of Economic Research, encompassing dozens of published studies. On traffic safety, they found that “road safety improves when medical marijuana is legalized,” noting cannabis as a beneficial substitute for alcohol and opioids (both statistically lead to impaired driving). Moreover, New York State has had a Medical Marijuana program since 2014 and as aforementioned, the possession and consumption of cannabis has been legal in New York State for approximately a year already. Therefore, if marijuana caused any meaningful increase in traffic accidents, it would be known already. Finally, even if marijuana did cause an increase in traffic accidents, it does not justify prohibiting marijuana products from being sold just like the sale of alcohol should not be prohibited just because there are some irresponsible people who choose to drink and drive. Regardless of the vote, driving under the influence of marijuana will still be illegal.

The Localities That Choose to Opt-In, Will Directly Receive A New Source of Tax Revenue - The MRTA enacts a 9% state excise tax and a 4% local excise tax on retail cannabis sales. 40% of the state tax revenue from retail sales is set aside for a fund to reinvest in communities disproportionately impacted by the drug war. 40% to public schools and public education; 20% to drug treatment, prevention and education. The 4% local tax is split with 25% going to the county and 75% going to the locality (i.e. 3% to the locality and 1% to the County). It is worth pointing out that there is no other industry where a percentage of collected tax revenue is directly given to the locality in which the tax is collected. This is one tax that won’t be funneled downstate or to the 5 cities. Therefore, if the voters choose to continue the opt-out, this new source of tax revenue and jobs will be gone. Those who are advocating to continue the opt-out are essentially saying that the village taxpayers don’t need another source of tax revenue and a new source of jobs are not desired. The bottom line is, opting out of retail cannabis establishments will not stop marijuana from being sold and consumed within the village, it will only ensure that the village taxpayers receive no economic benefit for the activity taking place.

A Regulated Cannabis Industry Is a Safer Cannabis Industry - One thing we know for sure is cannabis prohibition doesn’t work, it never has. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This is a primary reason why more and more states have legalized marijuana. More oversight and control are had through regulation, not prohibition. For instance, instead of having to worry about whether your marijuana product has some potentially harmful substance mixed in with it, safety is assured in legal cannabis products through mandatory tests by licensed 3rd-party labs. Cannabis retail locations must be 500ft from a school and 200ft from a place of worship.

Licensed retail businesses not in compliance with applicable laws - including checking IDs with every sale, keeping strict inventory controls in place, minimum operating requirements for security including guards and surveillance - will risk losing their retail license. The absence of a means for residents to obtain legal cannabis and cannabis products may very well fuel the growth of a community’s existing unregulated legacy markets (i.e., street level drug dealers) and/or birth new illicit markets that are not subject to the same stringent safety, testing, and marketing standards imposed upon state-licensed cannabusiness operators.

Municipal Control is Not Lost Should the Voters Opt-In - A lot has been made in the newspapers about municipalities choosing to opt-out over concerns about zoning and other laws not being in place which limit or control the prospective cannabis businesses. There is no reason for such concern because even if the voters decide to Opt-In, municipalities can still govern the time, place, and manner of operation of retail dispensaries and consumption sites – caveat, municipalities can’t make local laws to operate “unreasonably impracticable.” License applicants must notify municipalities, between 30 & 270-days prior to applying for license, of the applicant’s intent to apply for license. Municipalities may express an opinion for or against granting of license and when the Office of Cannabis Management decides, it must respond in writing to the municipality.

The New Cannabis Industry Brings Endless Economic Opportunities & Accentuates the Local Economy - It has been brought to our attention that there are some people out there claiming that the opting-in will hurt the local economy. How does that make any sense and what evidence do they have to draw such an inference? One might ask themselves how the village plans to replace the 3% tax revenue that will be lost in the event of an opt-out. Beyond the tax revenue, opting in will bring tourists to the village who otherwise would not come to Dansville, which increases the likelihood of them frequenting other businesses within the village. Furthermore, cannabis tends to make you hungry, which bodes well for the various food-service establishments throughout the village. Also, cannabis retail business will require services in accounting, law, marketing, financial planning, real estate, fulfillment, etc. Such needs will only accentuate the local businesses within the village. Finally, various studies have been conducted in states that have legalized recreational cannabis, which show property values increase when cannabis dispensaries are present. Therefore, anyone who claims that the local economy will be harmed with the presence of cannabis dispensaries is simply out of touch with reality.

Cannabis is Safer Than Both Alcohol & Tobacco - A simple google search will show that cannabis is much safer than both alcohol and tobacco. Both alcohol and tobacco are responsible for thousands of deaths per year, while Cannabis has never killed anyone dating back to its use in ancient civilization. In this regard, it is practically impossible to fatally overdose on cannabis because there are no endocannabinoid receptors in the part of the brain that is responsible for involuntary function. Yet, there are several business establishments within the village that freely sell both alcohol and tobacco products. As such, it does not make any sense for the village to allow these establishments to exist while denying cannabis retail businesses from conducting business within the village. Even though cannabis is a superior product to both alcohol and tobacco, cannabis retailers simply want to be treated the same way as those who sell alcohol and tobacco. Just as it is the liberty of consenting adults to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or a cigar after work, it is likewise the liberty of consenting adults to enjoy cannabis after work. Depriving anyone of exercising their liberty is not only unfair but is an affront to one’s inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The Fate of a Small-Business Owned & Operated by Dansville Natives Hangs in the Balance - 4Fathers Organics is a craft cannabis specialty store that has existed within the village of Dansville since the beginning of 2020. Since the time the business was first established, we have received nothing but positive feedback from our customers and have had no reported issues. The company is operated by a group of family and family-like friends who all have roots in the village of Dansville and who care deeply about the overall health and prosperity of the village. Should the voters choose to let the opt-out stand, we will have no choice but to shut down our business in Dansville and go elsewhere. In the event this happens, it will be one less business that makes donations to the volunteer ambulance and firefighters, one less business contributing goods for basket raffles and one less member of a local non-profit group that volunteers their time to help various groups throughout the Dansville community. If the opt-out stands and by some miracle, the village later changes its mind (if that is even possible), there is no guarantee that the next business will be operated by individuals who are as invested in the local community as we are. Our goal is to build community, not break it down; but no matter how good our intentions are, if our business is not welcomed by the village voters, it will be impractical for us to operate within the village. It is our hope that the voters of the village realize the great opportunity that this new and burgeoning industry can bring and allow us to continue to be a part of the great community of Dansville. If the voters decide to allow the opt-out to stand, we would like to express our gratitude for time we had as part of the Dansville community and express our appreciation to all our loyal customers.

In closing, for the reasons set forth above, please “Just Vote No” to both the propositions that will be on the February 15, 2022 ballot. Should anyone have any follow-up questions or concerns that they would like addressed before placing their vote, please do not hesitate to reach out to us either by phone, our social media platforms or by email at shop@4fathersorganics.com.

Very truly yours,

4Fathers Organics, LLC

Steven J. Litteer, Certified Ganjier

Founder & CEO


[1] Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Legalization Doesn’t Lead to Increased Youth Use, American Medical Association Study Finds, Marijuana Moment, September 7, 2021, https://www.marijuanamoment.net/marijuana-legaliz...

[2] Marijuana Research Report, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Revised July 2020, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-r...

[3] British Medical Journal, Legal cannabis stores linked to fewer opioid deaths in the United States, January 28, 2021, https://www.bmj.com/company/newsroom/legal-cannab...

[4] Joseph J. Sabia, Is Recreational Marijuana a Gateway to Harder Drug Use and Crime?, NBER, July 2021, https://www.nber.org/papers/w29038

[5] D. Mark Anderson, The Public Health Effects of Legalizing Marijuana, NBER, April 2021,

https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w...