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Babylon Town Supervisor: Ban Marijuana Sales On Long Island

Patch logo Patch 4/5/2021 Priscila Korb
a close up of a green plant: Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which made New York the 15th state in the country to legalize the drug. © Shutterstock Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which made New York the 15th state in the country to legalize the drug.

TOWN OF BABYLON, NY — Babylon's town supervisor is calling for Long Island communities to ban marijuana sales after state lawmakers last week passed a legalization bill.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which made New York the 15th state in the country to legalize the drug.

The bill allows people 21 and older to possess up to 3 ounces of the drug and establishes the Office of Cannabis Management to set up the retail sales market. Municipalities can't ban possession of the drug, but they can opt out of retail sales — and Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer is calling on Long Island communities to do so.

"We're protecting our quality of life and we're not creating a whole host of problems that could end up costing us lives and resources," he told NBC New York.

Schaffer will host a meeting with Long Island town supervisors and city managers to discuss marijuana legalization, according to Dan Schaefer, deputy director of communications for the Town of Babylon. Elected officials and advocates both in support of and opposed to legalization will be at the meeting to discuss potential impacts on communities, Schaefer said.

Elliot Choi, counsel at Vicente Sederberg and managing attorney of the cannabis firm's New York office, claims that local bans on marijuana stores will deprive communities of tax revenue, jobs, and other opportunities.

"Prohibiting legal sales also makes it harder to stamp out the existing unregulated market. If local demand is not being met by regulated stores, it will continue to be met by unregulated dealers. Simply put, opting out will not keep cannabis out of these communities," he said. "In states where cannabis is legal, many local governments that rushed to ban adult sales have since changed course and now allow them. There is not a single case in which a community that allowed sales decided to go back and prohibit them. It’s reminiscent of the states and localities that made the costly mistake of clinging to alcohol prohibition for years after its repeal."

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