The Village of Westbury passed an amendment to ban medical marijuana dispensaries from Post Avenue, saying that if they were to open in the village, they’d have to be kept to the industrial area.
The amendment was proposed in response to the state’s decision last year to authorize a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries, including one in Lake Success. “When that enactment took place, the village board decided we didn’t want a marijuana dispensary anywhere that would impact the community as a whole, that would be readily accessible or visible to young kids walking to school,” said Mayor Peter Cavallaro during the village board meeting on March 3. “We didn’t want it on Post Avenue.”
Cavallaro noted that because the state authorized only a limited number, there isn’t an imminent plan to have one in Westbury. The move was taken as a precautionary measure, Cavallaro said.
“So if the state were looking to locate one of the dispensaries, or a company was looking to open in Westbury, they would be limited as to where they could open,” Cavallaro said.
The amendment will classify a medical marijuana dispensary as “adult use” (a category which includes massage parlors and peep shows). This would also include any establishment that processes, transports or distributes medical marijuana.
“A complete prohibition is not constitutional, but in order to be as restrictive as we can, we will include it in the definition of adult use,” Cavallaro said. “So if that were to occur, they would have to find a location suitable in the industrial area.”
When asked if barring a dispensary from opening on Post Avenue would cause a stigma or restrict people from having access to medically-prescribed marijuana, Cavallaro said the industrial area was just as easy to get to.
“Our industrial area includes Railroad Avenue, which is right off of Post Avenue and is adjacent to the train station, so there’s no way you could say it’s inaccessible. Anyone who could get to Post Avenue could get there,” Cavallaro said. “I’m not saying medical marijuana use by itself is unseemly or something you want to discourage, but it’s something you want to regulate. To the extent we can regulate I don’t see why we shouldn’t.”
Westbury isn’t the only municipality taking precautionary measures. The Village of Hempstead recently passed a measure to prevent medical marijuana facilities from opening near homes, schools or places of worship and the Village of Massapequa Park banned them completely last month.