Nassau County legislators voted unanimously on Monday to ban the smoking and vaping of marijuana on all county-owned property including beaches, parks and sidewalks.
The bill, which gained unanimous approval, is backed by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
Violators of the new local law face fines of $25, set by the state. The original Nassau legislation had set the fine at $200, the same as for smoking or vaping nicotine on county property.
What to know
- The Nassau County Legislature voted unanimously on Monday to ban the smoking and vaping of marijuana on all county-owned property including beaches, parks and sidewalks.
- Under the legislation, which County Executive Laura Curran backs, violators face fines of $25, as set by the state.
- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in late March signed legislation legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults over the age of 21 in New York State.
Legis. John Ferretti (R-Levittown) and other majority Republicans said the $25 fine wasn’t enough.
“What kind of message does this send to our children?” Ferretti asked. “The fact that our hands have been tied by Albany is a travesty.”
Sponsors of the state legislation could not be reached for comment Monday.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in late March signed legislation legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 in New York State.
Legalization was a key component of Cuomo’s 2021 agenda, and was projected to bring in $350 million in new tax revenues.
Counties, cities, towns, and villages may opt-out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or licenses for on-site consumption, but cannot prohibit recreational use of marijuana by adults.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran had said before the state legislation passed that she opposed legalization of the recreational sale of marijuana in Nassau County.
Curran, a Democrat who is running for reelection, said she would sign the county legislation that passed Monday.
“As a parent, I know we must do everything we can to keep cannabis out of kids’ hands and out of public spaces where minors may be present — including all County parks and facilities,” Curran said in a statement.
“I look forward to signing this legislation as my number one priority is keeping our children safe,” Curran said. “We must ensure the County’s public spaces are suitable and safe for all residents.”
William Biamonte, chief of staff for minority legislative Democrats, said in a statement: “Nassau County residents have every right to expect that the air they breathe at parks and other County owned properties will be free from secondhand smoke and vapors of any kind. Today’s action is an important step toward preserving smoke-free public places for all to enjoy.”
The legislation will go into effect immediately after Curran signs it.
County lawmakers also are considering a separate bill that would amend the county’s social host law to include cannabis.
Under that proposal, anyone older than 18 who owns or rents a private residence can be charged for knowingly allowing the consumption of marijuana products by a minor on the property.
Also Monday, legislators discussed but did not vote on:
- A contract to operate a school bush camera program designed to crack down on motorists who illegally go around school buses while students are exiting and boarding.
- A bill to require the county notify legislators and community members at least 10 days before entering into a contract with an operator of a multifamily homeless shelter
- A bill to provide evidence to pro se property owners who challenge their tax assessments in court.