Mineola board to vote on local marijuana regulations

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has recently expressed support for the legalization of recreational marijuana use. (Photo by Rebecca Klar)

The Village of Mineola Board of Trustees are preparing for the potential legalization of recreational marijuana in the state.

The board will hold a public hearing Wednesday, Jan. 16 at Village Hall to discuss two proposed local laws regarding the definition of and zoning of marijuana dispensaries.

The first amendment to the local law would be to regulate medical marijuana and marijuana retail stores, in the event that the state Legislature legalizes the recreational use of marijuana, to light manufacturing and industrial districts.

The second proposed amendment would add definitions in the municipal code for the terms marijuana, marijuana product and medical marijuana.

If recreational marijuana use ever becomes legal in the state, preemptively putting a local law in place is a good idea, village resident Larry Lew said. Being on the forefront of legalization rather than reacting to it would be best, he added.

Not too far away, other municipalities have already taken similar measures in anticipation of recreational legalization of the drug.

The Town of North Hempstead has already passed two local laws to control sales at both medical and potential recreational marijuana stores.

The first, barring medical dispensaries from operating as retail stores, passed in November. Town officials said that they not against medical marijuana, understand the need for it and that this will not ban it at the meeting.

Town officials passed a second law Dec. 18, which caps the total number of medical marijuana dispensaries allowed in the town to two and dictates where they can operate. According to the legislation, dispensaries can only be located in industrial districts or hospital zones and must not be within 1,000 feet of schools, day care centers and places of worship or within 500 feet of a residential district.

As a result of the two laws and protests by opponents, MedMen, a cannabis company operating a dispensary in Lake Success, dropped plans to relocate to a storefront on Northern Boulevard in Manhasset.

In separate speeches this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio both expressed support in legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults, with the latter naming it one of his top priorities for 2019.

The public hearing on the amendments to local law will be held at 6:30 p.m.

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