The Suffolk County Legislature is seeking public comment on a bill that would prohibit the sale of marijuana in Suffolk County if New York were to approve legalization of recreational marijuana.
A public hearing on the proposal will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5 in the Suffolk County Legislature’s Maxine S. Postal Auditorium in the Evans K. Griffing Building at the Suffolk County Center at 300 Center Drive in Riverside.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in his January State of the State address that he plans to legalize the retail sale and use of marijuana in New York this year, although his proposal would allow individual counties and cities to ban retail sales.
Suffolk County’s proposed law argues that marijuana “has long been regarded as a gateway drug that serves as an introduction to drug culture and can lead to the use and abuse of other substances.”
It also states that marijuana use can “impair memory, coordination, cause hallucinations, and create difficulty thinking clearly and problem solving” and can also cause breathing problems, increased heart rate and paranoia.
The bill also states that “marijuana use is particularly dangerous for adolescents and young adults under the age of 25, whose brains are still rapidly developing.”
If approved, the law would make the retail sale of marijuana an unclassified misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year of imprisonment.
Written comments can be mailed to Jason Richberg, Clerk of the Suffolk County Legislature, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown, NY 11787.
Three local laws on pollution, including requiring the use of biodegradable products by businesses, banning single-use plastics in county parks and making plastic straws and stirrers available “by request only” are also on the agenda for the March 5 meeting of the legislature.