MINEOLA, N.Y. (FOX 5 NY) - Long Island officials are preparing for and protecting the public if and when marijuana is legalized in New York.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced a legalization and regulation task force in anticipation of the state's OK to sell and possess marijuana for recreational use.
"No matter how you feel about this issue and what it means, we can all agree that we need to be prepared," she said. "I think we really have a wide range between education, government, law enforcement, legislators, faith. We got a really good soundboard of people."
As New York fine-tunes the details of statewide policy, local task force leaders will take a closer look at the effects of legalization on public safety and business development.
"What if we implemented a 3-3-3 plan? With one-third of proceeds going to law enforcement, one-third to prevention and one-third to treatment?" said Leg. Josh Lafazan, who will co-chair the task force.
If the legislation is passed, the police academy for recruits will likely be extended and veteran officers will also have to go through in-service training to learn about the signs and specific testing.
"Cops have died in the war on drugs. We don't get to choose which side of the picket line we stand," Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. "We have to stand with and enforce the law as it's served down to us and that's what we'll do as professionals."
While legalizing marijuana could potentially generate millions in sales tax, there are some concerns about where to allow stores. Another medical marijuana dispensary just recently opened on Long Island in Carle Place.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it clear that legalizing recreational marijuana would be a priority in this year's legislative session.