Some Long Island officials oppose legal marijuana

Recreational marijuana use may soon be legal in New York if Gov. Andrew Cuomo's long-awaited proposal moves forward. But not everyone is in favor of it.

Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta called it a step in the wrong direction. He is sponsoring a bill to opt out should it become legal.

"We shouldn't be filling budget gaps by getting into the drug business, plain and simple," he said. "This is important to do now to let the governor know that we're unhappy with the way it's being proposed—what we're seeing and hearing."

Cuomo's plan would include banning sales to anyone under 21 and imposing state and local taxes on the drug from wholesalers to retailers.

"They're going to legalize it and tax it," said one Suffolk County resident. "It'll be money for the county. They're going to do it anyway."

"I think it's unfair to have a whole county say, 'No,'" another resident said. "I think it should be up to the individual town probably but if I had to bet one way or another I'd say yes I'm for it."

In Nassau County, the North Hempstead Town Board already approved a law banning the retail sale of recreational marijuana.

While marijuana has a medicinal use for people with approved illnesses in New York, drug experts say that marijuana could play a role in substance misuse and abuse for other users.

"We know that marijuana, particularly the active strains today, has adverse impacts on memory retention, learning and an undeveloped brain, which we know in adolescents isn't developed until 25," said Steve Chassman, the executive director of LICADD.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is still reviewing Legislator Trotta's bill and Cuomo's proposal. He hasn't taken a position on either one.

A hearing is being held the county legislature in February for people to voice their opinions.