No Marijuana Sales in Huntington, Oyster Bay
By Rupert Deedes
The Huntington Town Board and the Oyster Bay Town Board both voted – unanimously - last week to ban marijuana sales and public consumption within the two townships.
In both Towns, the Boards also rejected the establishment of on-site smoking locations, and prohibited the consumption of marijuana on public property, including streets, sidewalks and public parks. The vote in Oyster Bay was 7-0 to “opt-out”, and in Huntington it was 5-0 to “opt–out.”
According to Oyster Bay Councilman Steve Labriola, New York’s marijuana legalization “is going to be a failed experiment and is going to cost New York a lot of lives…”
“The way the state law was written is that we have one opportunity to “opt out” and endless opportunities to opt in at a later date, after this board sees what the rollout is like,” noted Oyster Bay Supervisor Joe Saladino.
"As a quality of life measure, we have prohibited the consumption of marijuana on public property, including streets, sidewalks and parks, while opting out of the state law [legalizing marijuana]…” added Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci.
Huntington Supervisor-Elect Ed Smyth, who currently serves on the Town Board, supported the opt-out vote.
New York State legalized the sale and use of marijuana, but set a December 31st deadline for municipalities in the state to “opt out” of the law. Municipalities which have chosen to opt out before the deadline would be allowed to opt in later on, but municipalities which failed to opt-out by the deadline will not be able to opt out .
Opponents of the opt-out argued that it would be better and safer to regulate the sale and consumption of marijuana, and that the tax revenues would help fund important services.
The marijuana market is expected to generate about $300 million for the state annually, and those municipalities which had opted in would receive a share of that money.
Supporters of the opt-out, argued that the long-term health effects of marijuana use are devastating – from lung cancer to short and long-term mental disability. Nearly 100,000 Americans die from drug overdoses each year, and marijuana is the leading “gateway drug” that introduces children and adults to drug abuse.
Other dangers of marijuana use include the exposure of children to the drug, and adult users driving – and killing or injuring others - while under the influence of marijuana, or “driving while stoned.”