Local Lawmakers Hold Final Hearing On Marijuana Legalization

December 03, 2018 - 2:05 pm

BABYLON, N.Y. (WCBS 880/AP) — Members of the New York state Assembly headed to Long Island Monday morning for a public hearing on proposals to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

The 10:30 a.m. hearing at Babylon Town Hall was intended to gather input on legalization and how it has worked in other states.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, there was still some strong opposition to the proposals after the fourth, and final, hearing. The strongest rejections come from Assembly members Doug Smith and Michael Lipetri.

“As the youngest member of the assembly and also  as one of the only certified teachers, I'm concerned about it being marketed toward children. In other states we've seen cookies, marijuana cookies, marijuana gummy bears – they’ll eat the entire pack and wind up in the hospital,” Assemblyman Smith said.

Lipetri echoed Smith’s comments saying his biggest concern was about the kind of precedent being set for children.

“I’d rather be focusing on healthy concepts, healthy ideologies like exercise, physical activity, rather than creating the idea that in order to have fun is to get high,” Assemblyman-elect Lipetri said.

Though, some assembly members support the idea and believe New York can find a balance.

“You can't get a drug overdose from marijuana and die like you can from Fentanyl,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol.

There's also been broad support among many Long Island residents for legalization.

“I think it would just solve a lot of problems, and just do it slowly. I think New York would get it right,” said Lindenhurst resident James Wapotich.

Figuring out the details of the regulations and tax rules for the drug will be challenging, and lawmakers have made it abundantly clear that if marijuana is legalized, they want mom-and-pop shops to sell the drug rather than big businesses.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)