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Niagara County Legislature: Marijuana ad hoc committee holds first meeting

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Fri, May 3rd 2019 08:20 pm

The newly appointed Niagara County Legislature marijuana ad hoc committee held its first meeting Tuesday to examine the local impact of impending marijuana legalization in New York state.

Both elected leaders and county officials met behind closed doors to discuss the potential impact marijuana legalization will have, and what Niagara County will need to prepare for once it’s legalized. Each member of the committee expressed initial concerns relating to their respective fields including public safety, mental health, public health and law enforcement.

Additionally, the committee discussed possible locations for the upcoming public forums. One of the locations being considered is Niagara County Community College. Members also agreed to hold each of the public forums in different parts of the county in an effort to diversify public opinion.

The committee is chaired by Legislator Jesse Gooch, who represents parts of both Niagara-Wheatfield and North Tonawanda. Other members include legislators Owen Steed and Rebecca Wydysh, Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour, Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek, Niagara County Director of Public Health Daniel Stapleton, Niagara County Director of Mental Health Laura Kelemen, Niagara County Attorney John Ottaviano, Niagara County Director of Human Resources Peter Lopes and North Tonawanda City Attorney Luke Brown.

“Our committee had a constructive discussion on the approaching marijuana legalization. Chairman (Wm. Keith) McNall appointed an incredible group of experts to analyze this issue, and I’m very confident this committee will be a great resource for both the citizens and legislature of Niagara County,” Gooch stated.

Before a date and location is established for each public forum, the committee will meet for a second time in mid-June.

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