Official: It’s unlikely that a town will opt out of selling weeds


The opt-out of the entire Long Island retail portion of the state’s new law to legalize recreational marijuana seems unlikely after a meeting of town supervisors on this issue did not come to a clear agreement.

Rich Schaffer, chairman of the Suffolk County and Town Supervisors Association, will hold a zoom meeting with all county supervisors on Wednesday, along with Oyster Bay and North Hempstead supervisors, Hempstead Town representatives, and the mayor of Glen Cove. It was held. Mr Schaffer said a representative of the city of Long Beach is not believed to be answering the phone.

“I don’t see any consensus,” he said. “I feel that everyone is willing to work together to handle this bill imposed on us without much time to understand.”

According to Schaffer, the 90-minute meeting included comments from state legislature members who voted in favor of the bill. The bill legalizes possession, sale, and cultivation of marijuana for recreational purposes for people over the age of 21.

Under the law, municipalities cannot prohibit residents from consuming or growing marijuana, but they can opt out or regulate retail sales and consumption sites. To opt out, the municipality must pass the bill by December 31st. Residents can then conduct a tolerant referendum to overturn the law by collecting signatures from at least 5% of the total votes cast by the governor in the last election. Municipalities that opt ​​out can opt in at any time at a later date, Schaffer said.

Also commented at the conference were Troy Smit of NORML Long Island, a branch of the national organization for marijuana law reform, an advocacy group, and David Holland, a legal counsel to the Cannabis Owners Association. Helped create state law.

Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, Suffolk Democratic Chairman and Babylon Town overseer Schaffer was keen to opt out of Babylon and wanted to see if other overseers felt the same way. .. But he said Smit and the Netherlands raised some points that opened his mind to perhaps opt-in to the law, including regulatory and economic interests.

“Now I may be convinced that opt-out may not be the best,” he said. “If you know people are smoking it now … Wouldn’t it be better if there was a place under state regulation rather than keeping the black market in business?”

Under the new law, the state will establish a cannabis control office within the state’s Liquor Department to issue separate licenses for sites that grow, process, distribute, and legally consume marijuana.

State officials estimate that legalizing the use of recreational marijuana will create tens of thousands of new jobs and generate annual revenues of $ 350 million. Local governments receive 3% of their income. If Babylon opts in, Schaffer said the money would go to drug prevention, substance abuse counseling, and public security programs.

During the meeting, Schaffer said news alerts about Newsday’s article about Sinnecock, which plans to launch recreational marijuana this summer, caused a turmoil. He said raising sales on Sinnecock’s land would “beat” the “opt-out” goals of nearby towns such as Southampton and Brookhaven.

“I find it very difficult to opt out if there are already other places on the island and we have already shown that we will continue with this,” he said.

According to Schaffer, North Hempstead supervisor Judy Bosworth suggested that the town do something similar to the task force created by Nassau County in 2019 to study the issue. Schaffer added that other town supervisors would agree to discuss the establishment of such a task force with the town board of Babylon, consisting of both supporters and opponents seeking public opinion. ..

The move “makes everyone, pros and cons, feel that they can hear their voice and also provides an opinion on whether to opt in,” Schaffer said.

Municipalities may limit sales to specific areas away from commercial strips and schools, much like many officials already do in Ark and adult stores.

Some villages on Long Island have already said they plan to opt out. Hempstead town director Don Krabin, while Schaffer explained to him about the meeting, he spoke personally with board members in each town and they were “unanimous bipartisan” to opt out. He said he made a decision.

Schaffer said the supervisor would meet again in a few weeks to see if there was any consensus on how to proceed.

“Opt-out is still an option, but I don’t think it’s probably the most viable option,” he said. “It only makes sense if it’s a large geographic area, otherwise our job is to work with all our supporters and find the best way to fit this into their jurisdiction.”

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