Marijuana legislation is signed into law -- what comes next on Long Island?
The legalization of recreational marijuana in New York has brought a diverse set of reactions from Long Island residents and groups with plenty of work to be done before the business is fully established.
Lawmakers passed the bill in Albany Tuesday night, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed it into law Wednesday morning. It means it is now legal to carry up to three ounces of cannabis, you can have up to six plants to grow marijuana in your home and records will be expunged for those convicted in either case.
Lisa Tyson, with the Long Island Progressive Coalition says this is an end to the war on the drug.
"We are beginning to restore communities after years and years of marijuana arrests, as well as we begin to regulate and bring the tax money, and this huge amount of jobs," says Tyson.
But Kyle Belokopitsky, executive director of the NYS PTA sees it differently.
"We don't think this is going to solve much of the societal and social justice issues," he says. "In every other state that's passed, even though it's 21 and older, children have had greater access, a huge increase in things like hospitalization and accidental ingestion, DWAI."
The cannabis legislation also creates the Office of Cannabis Management, expands the medical marijuana program and establishes a licensing system, much like how bars need a liquor license.
Still to be determined -- where will these cannabis retail establishments be allowed? For example, how close to schools can they be? And how many per downtown area?
In the end, it will be up to local towns, villages and cities whether they opt in or out of the pot retail business.
Town of Hempstead Spokesman Greg Blower released a statement on the law Wednesday, saying, "The Town board is united in its opposition to the sale of recreational marijuana and also stands firmly against 'on premises' consumption of marijuana at facilities within the Town of Hempstead."