Op-Ed: Why Huntington Should Embrace Cannabis Sales, Lounges

The town of Huntington is facing a historic opportunity to join the growing movement of legalizing and regulating cannabis for adult use. By opting into cannabis sales and on-site consumption lounges, Huntington can reap the benefits of increased tax revenue, job creation, public health, and social justice.

Cannabis sales and lounges are not a new or radical idea. In fact, they are already operating successfully in several states and countries, such as Colorado, California, Canada, and Uruguay. These places have shown that legalizing and regulating cannabis can generate millions of dollars in tax revenue, create thousands of jobs, reduce the black market, and improve public safety.

According to a recent report by the New York State Department of Health, legalizing cannabis for adult use could generate up to $678.7 million in annual tax revenue for the state, and up to $3.5 billion in economic activity. A portion of this revenue could be allocated to the town of Huntington, which could use it to fund essential services, such as education, health care, infrastructure, and public safety.

Cannabis sales and lounges would also create new opportunities for local entrepreneurs, farmers, and workers. The cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country, with an estimated 321,000 full-time jobs as of 2020. By opting into cannabis sales and lounges, Huntington could attract and support new businesses, stimulate the local economy, and diversify its revenue sources.

Moreover, cannabis sales and lounges would enhance public health and social justice in Huntington. By regulating cannabis, the town could ensure that the products are tested, labeled, and safe for consumers, and that the businesses are licensed, accountable, and responsible. By allowing on-site consumption lounges, the town could provide a safe and legal space for adults to enjoy cannabis, without exposing them to the risks of smoking in public or driving under the influence.

Additionally, cannabis sales and lounges would help address the racial and social disparities that have resulted from the war on drugs. According to the ACLU, Black people are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white people in New York, despite similar usage rates. By legalizing cannabis, the town could reduce the number of arrests, convictions, and incarcerations for cannabis-related offenses, and expunge the records of those who have been unfairly criminalized.

One of the key factors that will determine the success of cannabis sales and lounges in Huntington is the zoning policy. The town should opt in with little to no zoning restrictions, to allow the cannabis businesses to operate in a fair and competitive market, and to avoid creating unnecessary barriers for the consumers. Zoning restrictions could limit the number, location, and size of cannabis businesses, and create a monopoly for a few privileged players. This could reduce the quality, variety, and affordability of cannabis products, and discourage the consumers from accessing the legal market.

Another reason why Huntington should opt in to cannabis sales and lounges is to prevent the enrichment of the illegal market. By staying opt out, the town would miss the opportunity to regulate and tax cannabis, and to provide a safe and legal alternative for the consumers. This would leave the cannabis market in the hands of the illicit dealers, who do not pay taxes, follow safety standards, or check the age or identity of the buyers. The illegal market could also be linked to other criminal activities, such as violence, trafficking, and money laundering. By opting in to cannabis sales and lounges, the town could weaken the illegal market, and redirect the money and resources to the legal and legitimate businesses and services.

Cannabis sales and lounges are not a threat to Huntington, but an opportunity. By opting into cannabis sales and lounges, Huntington can position itself as a progressive, innovative, and inclusive town that respects the rights and choices of its residents, and that embraces the potential of a new and promising industry. Huntington should not miss this chance to make history and to make a difference.

Jeffrey Roizman lives in East Northport and has applied for a legal cannabis business  license with the state’s Office of Canmabis Management. 

5 Replies to “Op-Ed: Why Huntington Should Embrace Cannabis Sales, Lounges”

  1. 1. There is no true test for police to check for marijuana impairment while driving like there is for alcohol.

    2. Legalize and open marijuana lounges to help fight social injustice and the disproportionate arrests of certain segments of race for marijuana possession or sale. Should we decriminalize burglary, robbery or larceny since stats show certain segments of race are disproportionately arrested for these crimes?

    3. Legalizing marijuana and encouraging the opening of lounges will help generate tax revenue which we can then put into social programs, schools or infrastructure? Well let’s be honest with every tax increase politicians just finds ways to waste it and fund their pet projects which help them to curry favor with their donor class and not their constituents.

    4. Look at progressive city’s which have largely decriminalized marijuana and other drugs. Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and NYC are utter messes now.

    5. If we want to corrupt the young by making it easy and legal to obtain and use marijuana then this is a great idea.

    6. Has anyone been to NYC lately and I’m not just talking about midtown. The smell of marijuana is absolutely nauseating and EVERYWHERE. That in itself lowers the quality of life of the very large majority of people who don’t use. Doesn’t matter if you’re in the subway, street or even your own backyard. The smell of marijuana is extremely pungent and lingers for a very long time. Add in a slight breeze and it can be evident a large distance from the starting location.

    1. Hey Chris,
      1. Yes there is, it’s called the field sobriety test. If someone is too high to drive it is really easy to tell.

      2. If you aren’t aware, Cannabis is legal in a majority of states at the state level. If you also aren’t aware, the Department of Health and Human Services has recommended schedule 3. Why should we continue to criminalize ALL RACES for a plant that grows out of the earth/soil.

      3. You obviously aren’t aware of how the tax structure is setup for Cannabis sales in the state of New York.

      4. The problems of those cities have to do with hard drugs. Cannabis is comparable if not safer than tobacco, alcohol, and way safer than a majority of what the FDA approves.

      5. Every customer has to show identification at various points of the retail process. Also if we want to stay opted out, then sure let’s continue on with the 200+ smoke shops that already sell it.

      6. I’m sorry you hate the smell of Cannabis. Maybe instead of complaining about it now, you should have pushed for the ban of public consumption but do that for cigarettes and alcohol as well.

  2. I love the smell of cannabis and Huntington should run to opt in. A no brainer money generator which can help all phases of making Huntington a better place to live.

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