Long Island beach towns to forbid marijuana sales
Mayors of the Long Island beach towns near New York City’s Queens border say they will forbid the sale marijuana in their communities.
The weed legalization law just approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo allows local municipalities — cities, towns and villages — to opt out.
“I feel strongly about this. It’s a moral imperative to opt out. I’m not going to permit marijuana here. It’s that simple,” said Village of Island Park Mayor Michael McGinty.
McGinty cited drug overdose deaths in recent years and said he considers marijuana a “gateway drug.”
Under the law, municipalities collect 3 percent sales tax revenues on pot sales.
“I’m not going to be selling my soul for tax revenue,” McGinty said.
Village of Atlantic Beach Mayor George Pappas concurred, saying, “We have young children who are easily influenced. I’m not interested in the tax revenue. I’m interested in the well-being of our children.”
“Marijuana is a gateway drug. I don’t want the smell of marijuana on the beach when young people are surfing or playing volleyball.”
Pappas said he will work with police to aggressively enforce no-smoking rules on the beach. Like tobacco, marijuana smoking will be prohibited in public spaces like beaches and parks as well as bars, restaurants and offices.
Two other mayors of villages in Nassau County — Robert Kennedy of Freeport and Francis Murray of Rockville Center told The Post on Tuesday they want to forbid the sales of weed in their communities. Both expressed concerns about pot users driving while impaired.
By comparison, Big Apple Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday applauded the marijuana law and said the city will be selling weed.
“It’s wrong to have it illegal and widespread,” the mayor said.
De Blasio said positive aspects of the law include expunging the criminal records of marijuana convictions that disproportionately impacted young minorities, and tax revenues going to help distressed communities “rather than going to the underground economy.”
The mayor, who has two kids, acknowledged “health and safety issues.”
But he said those concerns can be better addresses by legalizing marijuana and dedicating resources for an education campaign.
The mayor’s top health adviser, Jay Varma, urged young people to “stay away from mind-altering substances.”Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest