Up to 20 of New York State’s first 150 legal adult-use cannabis dispensaries are slated to be on Long Island. If nothing changes, they will all be clustered in four locations in Suffolk County — the towns of Southampton, Riverhead, Babylon, and Brookhaven. Although the opt-in deadline was last December, there is still time for Long Island’s other municipalities to reconsider their stances to ensure that safe and legal dispensaries are accessible and regulated.
I can understand elected leaders’ apprehensions. I’m a PTA mom with two elementary school-aged boys. I do not want my sons (or any children) to have access to cannabis. However, a local dispensary will not increase underage access to cannabis. The ultimate goal of legalization is to put the illicit market, which is more accessible to minors, out of business. Legalization and regulated dispensaries actually make cannabis harder for minors to obtain.
Illicit cannabis dealers and unlicensed retail stores do not require state-issued identification. They are not responsible for proper labeling. They do not verify scientific testing results. They are not accountable for compliance with state-approved security plans. All legal, regulated cannabis retailers need to do this … and much more to operate.