Village To Hold Hearing On Cannabis Opt-Out

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Earlier this month, the Village of Mineola Board of Trustees passed a local law that prohibits the smoking or vaping of cannabis products on all village-owned properties.

“This is a prohibition against smoking or vaping cannabis products on village-owned properties, which includes buildings, parks, playgrounds and the pool,” village attorney John Gibbons said at the meeting. “A law similar to this has been adopted by most municipalities on Long Island with the recent legalization of cannabis.”

Mayor Scott Strauss said that the law certainly makes sense to adopt.

“It’s something we have to do,” trustee Dennis Walsh said. “It’s a preemptive strike and I’m good with that.”

Also at the meeting, Jen DeSena, who is the executive director of the Manhasset Coalition Against Substance Abuse, informed the village board that the Town of North Hempstead created a cannabis task force for advice on whether or not to opt-out of opening retail marijuana stores and consumption lounges.

“At one of the conferences, there were two attorneys there one of whom stated that the Village of Mineola had opted in to having retail stores, which caused me to have a conversation with Mr. Walsh and find out about this hearing tonight,” she said.

DeSena, who is also running for the Town of North Hempstead Supervisor seat, said she is happy the village enacted the prohibition of banning the smoking and vaping of cannabis products on village properties, but wanted to urge the village board to opt-out of the possibility of having stores sell cannabis products.

“There is a huge gap in understanding today’s marijuana,” DeSena said. “It’s much stronger than it used to be. In the 1970s, it contained one to three percent of THC. Today, most youth use vaped marijuana; it can be as much as 95 percent pure THC. It’s easy to purchase and use.”

Villages and towns are given the right to opt-out and can opt-in if they decide to change their minds. However, villages and towns won’t be able to opt-out again after Dec. 31.

Strauss announced that a public hearing will take place Wednesday, Oct. 13 at village hall on the possibility of opting out of the cannabis retail law.

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