Long Island marijuana sales: Which towns are in, which towns are out

Should marijuana be allowed in the marketplace? It’s a controversial decision being left up to localities all across New York. 

SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute of Government launched an opt-out tracker as a tool to see who’s in and out throughout the state. 

So far on Long Island, towns including Hempstead, Smithtown, Islip, Shelter Island, and East Hampton have opted out of retail sales and lounges. 

"It’s the last thing we need in New York State," said Ruthanne McCormack, the project coordinator for the Rockville Centre Coalition for Youth. "They can warehouse pot in their homes it’s legal. They don’t need retail establishments they don’t need to have lounges." 

McCormack hopes others will follow in the footsteps of the towns opting out, arguing that there’s nothing socially redeeming about what she calls the gateway drug. 

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However, Matt Cohen, President and CEO of the Long Island Association emphasizes municipalities can make their own decision but since marijuana is legal, the LIA believes communities should reap the economic benefits. 

"If someone can’t buy marijuana in one town - they’ll drive ten minutes to another town," Cohen said. "[This] could mean more than 7,000 jobs on Long Island, nearly $900 million in economic output, for the state, we’re talking more than $6 billion and more 50,000 jobs," he said. 

But where will weed be welcome? Supervisor Jay Schneiderman with the Town of Southampton decided not to vote and therefore will move forward with the sale of pot and consumption at local businesses. 

"As it becomes more normal in society you’ll see other towns begin to embrace it," Schneiderman said. 

Supervisor Rich Schaffer hasn’t embraced the idea just yet but the Town of Babylon is moving forward. According to Schaffer, the state rushed in the rollout. Communities that opted out may opt-in at a later date, but that’s not the case for Towns like Babylon and Southampton that already committed. 

"I’m concerned about NYS not having all the regulations in place yet, and we’re opted in, and we can’t get out of there are issues we have to deal with," he said. 

Other communities including the North Hempstead Town Board and the City of Long Beach have votes scheduled for later this month. The deadline is December 31.