After hearing concerns from residents, the police commissioner and members of the Board of Trustees, Floral Park opted out of allowing cannabis dispensaries to operate within village boundaries at a board meeting Tuesday evening.

The board approved  Local Law 1, under which the village opts out of licensing and establishing retail cannabis dispensaries. While considering what financial benefits could arise from cannabis sales for the local government, Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald said: “I personally don’t think the potential revenue would outweigh any of the social costs. Therefore, I vote aye.”

Deputy Mayor Lynn Pombonyo also voted yes, stressing the importance of this law for the community and thanking members of the public for speaking.

“[I] want to thank all of our educators in our schools for the tremendous work they do K-12 on health education … that is geared at hopefully preventing substance abuse amongst all of our children,” Pombonyo said.

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Floral Park Police Commissioner Stephen G. McAllister said, “[The] Floral Park Police Department has grave concerns about the legalization of marijuana and the legislation’s ill effects on the Village of Floral Park, its residents and its overall quality of life.”

In addition to citing logistical challenges, such as the retraining of police dogs to detect certain thresholds of cannabis, McAllister said the Police Department is already dealing with marijuana.

“We are already receiving calls for marijuana smoking in public around children,” McAllister said. “[The] Department of Public Works, under the authority of the village board, has reposted no smoking in all the parks and recreation within our village simply because we didn’t want people hanging out in Memorial Park smoking marijuana in from of Our Lady of Victory Church.”

Elaine Licari, a Floral Park resident and coordinator for the Floral Park Coalition of Resources for Education and Wellness, said she was specifically asked by some of the trustees to speak.

“Not only am I asking the board to opt out,” Licari said, “I am asking Floral Park parents please do not engage in the use of marijuana and drugs.”

“We are going to damage our kids if we send that message,” she said.

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Samuele Petruccelli is a Manhasset-based reporter for The Island Now, a position he assumed in May of 2021. He covers news across the North Shore, previously reporting on village elections, sexual harassment scandals and illegal practices in student housing markets.