Nassau Pols OK Marijuana Sales Opt-out Bill


Nassau County legislators approved a measure Monday that would ban the sale of recreational marijuana in anticipation of New York State lawmakers passing a proposal to legalize it.

County lawmakers unanimously passed the ban that follows the recommendation of a Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation, which found that related health and safety issues would outweigh the potential tax revenue generated from marijuana sales.

“Based on the evidence and input I’ve received from the task force, our key stakeholders and what I’ve heard from residents, I have decided that now is not the time for the legalized sale of marijuana in Nassau County,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who is expected to sign the ban into law. “What I heard from our law enforcement, our school and education professionals, health officials, and our towns and villages was clear  this isn’t something we’re ready to implement.”

If the proposal passes the state legislature, New York would become the 10th state nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to legalize smoking recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing the legislature to pass the measure during this legislative session, which ends in June.

Suffolk County lawmakers are also considering legislation that would similarly ban the sale of recreational marijuana. A vote has yet to be taken on the issue, but it may be taken up at the panel’s next meeting on May 14.

Nassau’s marijuana task force was co-chaired by Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and Nassau Legis. Joshua Lafazan, an independent from Syosset who caucuses with the Democratic legislative minority.

“At the height of a public health crisis, in which more than 160,000 Americans are losing their lives annually to drug and alcohol use, now is not the time for Nassau County to allow for legalized cultivation, sale, distribution or marketing of recreational cannabis products,” Lafazan said.