Town Sets Hearing Date For Zoning Legislation

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Report shows increased traffic accidents from pot

A resolution has been filed by Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Dina Di Giorgio to set a hearing date at the upcoming Oct. 25 Town of North Hempstead board meeting to hold a hearing at the subsequent Nov. 20 meeting to vote on a zoning resolution limiting the locations of medical marijuana dispensaries. The move is in answer to the tensions which continue to increase with Manhasset residents with the possible future site of a retail location for a Medmen store. The company is a purveyor of cannabis in several states where it is legal.

“We have all heard from many residents and the Greater Council about the need to address this issue,” said Di Giorgio. “The Carle Place Civic Association had similar concerns in the beginning of the year about the CuraLeaf facility on Glen Cove Road.”

“I am requesting that the Town Attorney draft zoning legislation that addresses the location of medical marijuana dispensaries in the Town of North Hempstead. We may also want to look at dealing with the sale of recreational marijuana and what other municipalities have defined as ‘marijuana cultivation facilities.’ I firmly support the legalization of medicinal marijuana,” she continued. “As a government, we must be cognizant of that fact that medicinal marijuana treats many illnesses and provides relief to many of our constituents.”

Lessons From States Where Marijuana Is Legal

Marijuana is illegal under federal law; however, a study from the University of Colorado analyzed the impact of legalized marijuana. Marijuana is legal in four states: Colorado and Washington legalized in 2012, Alaska and Oregon in 2014. Washington, D.C. legalized cultivation and possession in 2014.and its impact is being felt on numerous levels. Alcohol consumption has not decreased, but increased. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, the gallons of alcohol consumed in Colorado since marijuana legalization have increased by 8 percent. Researchers from Oregon State found that car accidents have also increased.

In New York State, District Attorney Madeline Singas’ office is prosecuting a man who under the influence of marijuana killed a pedestrian.

Singas said on Jan. 10, 2017, at approximately 6:45 a.m., the defendant was driving northbound on North Franklin Avenue in Hempstead when he struck and killed 58-year-old Ana Neuman, who was crossing the street at Jackson Avenue. Her body was thrown more than 100 feet in the air—and she ultimately died from catastrophic injuries caused by the impact.

After the crash, the defendant continued driving, with a witness following him, flashing his lights. The defendant then pulled over after a short distance, walked back to the scene, looked at Neuman’s body, returned to the car and drove away.

After fleeing, the defendant called his father who told him to go back to the scene, which he did. Upon returning, he was arrested by members of the Nassau County Police Department. A further investigation revealed the defendant had active THC, the main psychiatric-active ingredient in marijuana, in his blood approximately four hours after the crash.

“After this marijuana-impaired defendant admitted to killing an innocent woman crossing the street, he outrageously posted videos of himself online smoking what appeared to be marijuana cigars,” DA Singas said. “While we are grateful for the court’s change of position and the imposition of at least some jail time, this case remains a tragic reminder that drugged driving takes lives.”

History

According to a report from the Cato Institute, marijuana was legal throughout the U.S. under both state and federal law until 1913. States began to outlaw marijuana beginning with California in 1913. The prohibition came from anti-immigrant sentiment and racial prejudice against Mexican migrant workers who were often associated with use of the drug.

Starting in 1930, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics pushed states to adopt the Uniform State Narcotic Act and to enact their own measures to control marijuana distribution.
Following the model of the National Firearms Act, in 1937 Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, which effectively outlawed marijuana under federal law by imposing a prohibitive tax; even stricter federal laws followed thereafter.

The current controlling federal legislation is the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies marijuana by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), to have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” as well as a risk of “potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”

Despite this history of increasing federal action against marijuana (and other drugs), individual states have been backing away from marijuana prohibition since the 1970s.

Currently, 25 states and the District of Columbia have gone further by legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

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Elizabeth Johnson is former editor of Manhasset Press and Manhasset Press Magazine. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community Newspaper" several years in a row.

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