Retail sales of marijuana are on the table in Northport and Huntington this week as a state deadline for a decision nears.
The Northport Village Board of Trustees meets Tuesday; the Huntington Town Board meets Thursday.
The issue is whether municipality wants to permit legalized sales; they are required to act by Dec. 31. If they don’t, legal sales will be permitted. The municipalities can also vote directly to accept or reject sales; if they reject, they can decide later to accept, but if they accept, they cannot later opt out.
The Huntington board could opt-out for now and in effect, punt the decision to next year, when two new board members and a new town supervisor take their seats.
Northport has already had public hearings, and drawn a variety of comments, ranging from those who want to see the village benefit from tax revenue to others who think the sale should be legal, while still others, including drug counselors, see legalization increasing problems with addiction.
Huntington’s board scheduled three hearings for Thursday:
- To consider opting out of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption sites within the town.
- Possible updating the zoning code to be consistent with the new state law.
- Regulating cannabis consumption in public, on town property, and on streets and sidewalks outside of the Incorporated Villages.
Cresco, which opened a medical marijuana site in Melville in 2019 as Remedy, which later became Sunnyside, said in March it was exploring ways to enter the general adult-sales market.
Proponents of legalization have argued that the drug is safer through controlled sales, and will generate tax revenue, while opponents say the it will lead to more drug abuse.