Opting out

Opting out

Story By: ANTHONY PERROTTA
3/21/2019


ISLIP TOWN—Islip Town could become the next municipality on Long Island to ban the retail sale of recreational marijuana, should it become legal in New York State. 

In an item that was not listed on the meeting’s agenda, town officials voted 5-0 during this week’s board meeting to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, April 16, to consider a local law that would establish a one-year moratorium on businesses that sell recreational cannabis.

In the event that marijuana becomes legalized statewide, Islip’s proposed law states that the town would need “at least one year” to “effectively review the zoning and siting issues associated with the retail sale and use of recreational marijuana.” 

The law wouldn’t apply to medical use. 

The move came on the same day that Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that recreational marijuana was being dropped from the state budget, which is due April 1. The proposal hoped to legalize recreational use within the first 100 days of the governor’s third term and allows municipalities with more than 100,000 residents to opt out of legal sales. 

Cuomo has also stated that recreational marijuana could still happen in June, after the budget is settled. 

Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone, who is seeking reelection this year, announced last week that he would propose legislation that would allow the county to opt out of recreational sales. The ban, though, comes with a one-year moratorium. Once the probation period runs out, the county Legislature could then vote to lift the ban. 

Bellone’s announcement came a day after Nassau County executive Laura Curran said she would oppose the sale of recreational marijuana in her county. 

Supervisor Angie Carpenter, who is also up for reelection this year, applauded the moves earlier this week during the State of the Town address. “There is still too much we don’t know,” Carpenter said. “So like other townships, I will be requesting a moratorium on the sale or use of recreational marijuana in the Town of Islip.”

The Town of North Hempstead, earlier this year, became the first Nassau County town to ban the sale of recreational marijuana. North Hempstead, which also passed two other marijuana-related amendments last year in preparation for statewide recreational use, houses two of the three medical marijuana dispensaries on Long Island. The third is located in Riverhead. 

The next Islip Town Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 16 at 5:30 p.m.