16 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • FEBRUARY 2019
POINT OF VIEW
A CHALLENGING OPPORTUNITY
By LAURA CURRAN
Nassau County Executive
As county executive, my top priority
is ensuring the safety and health
of our residents — especially our
children. That means anticipating
challenges, such as snowstorms or
funding for law enforcement that
could dry up, before they arrive at
our doorstep. Today, it’s the potential
legalization of the sale and possession
of marijuana in New York State.
It is widely expected that Gov. Andrew
Cuomo and the state legislature
will move to legalize recreational
marijuana soon. We don’t know
exactly what it will look like, but we
know that it’s coming. This change
will be consequential, and there will
be challenges we need to address.
Legalization of recreational marijuana
will have real implications for
our law enforcement processes, health
codes, commercial development, government
tax revenue, licensing, and
regulation — the list goes on.
However you feel about the issue
and what it means, there is something
all of us can agree on: Our law
enforcement, business community,
schools, health officials, and residents
need to be prepared.
That is why I have formed the Nassau
County Task Force on Marijuana
Legalization & Regulation. This Task
Force will bring together leaders from
across the county who will focus on key
local needs in advance of potential legalization,
including the identification of
equipment and training requirements
for our officers, new public health
protocols, new regulatory and licensing
procedures, and tax revenue and
business development implications.
The Task Force will be cochaired by
Nassau County Police Commissioner
Patrick Ryder and Nassau Legis. Josh
Lafazan (D-Syosset) and will include
various stakeholders, ensuring that
all voices and perspectives are heard.
This will be a challenge, but it will
also be an opportunity. It will be an
opportunity for Nassau to lead the way
in New York from day one — to promote
new business opportunities and utilize
new tax revenue for our residents.
Turning this into an opportunity
will require hard work and preparation
from leaders across the county to
understand what is needed.
Given the breadth of potential
impact for all county residents, the
initial goal of this Task Force will be
to develop a working understanding
of the facts around marijuana legalization,
and to accordingly pursue
policy recommendations that will
keep us safe while maximizing the
benefits for our residents.
If and when legalization happens,
Nassau will set an example for all of
New York, seamlessly incorporating
harm-reduction strategies and implementing
a marijuana program that will
absorb the regulations needed to ensure
public safety, protect public health,
and provide consumer protection.
I look forward to hearing from our
Task Force so that we can turn this
challenge into an opportunity.
“We need to be equipped with the tools and
information to be prepared.”
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