MINEOLA – Today Nassau County Executive Laura Curran met with Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and Legislator Josh Lafazan, who are co-chairing the County Executive’s Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation. During the meeting, Commissioner Ryder and Legislator Lafazan provided updates regarding information-gathering and progress already achieved by the Task Force, which will produce a report for the County Executive by March 15th, 2019.
“I formed this Task Force to pre-emptively ensure that our law enforcement, municipalities, schools, health officials, businesses, and residents are equipped with the tools and resources they need to be prepared for legalization,” County Executive Curran. “We are looking at all aspects of this issue. As always, my primary concern is the health and safety of our residents – especially our children.”
“Our Task Force is working hard to understand and address key local issues around marijuana legalization,” said Commissioner Ryder. “I have many concerns about the potential legalization from a public safety perspective. It’s critical that we prepare our law enforcement with the necessary training and equipment so that we can continue to keep our residents safe and continue to enforce the law effectively.”
“By learning from the experiences of other municipalities, listening to our community leaders, engaging experts and closely scrutinizing data, I am confident that we will determine the best approach to take on behalf of Nassau County residents and lay the groundwork for the smooth and orderly implementation of any new laws that may come,” said Legislator Josh Lafazan. “I remain deeply grateful for County Executive Curran’s invitation to co-chair this task force.”
The Nassau County Task Force on Marijuana Legalization & Regulation, announced last month, comprises the following members:
- Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein, Department of Health Commissioner
- Francesca Carlow, President of the Nassau County Chambers of Commerce
- Patrick Ryder, Nassau County Police Commissioner (Co-Chair)
- Josh Lafazan, Nassau County Legislator (Co-Chair)
- Giselle Campbell-Ham, Assistant Principal of Freeport High School
- Ralph Ekstrand, Mayor of Farmingdale
- Bishop Lionel Harvey, First Baptist Cathedral of Westbury
- Jeffrey Reynolds, President of Family and Children’s Association
The Task Force is divided into six sub-committees, as follows: Municipalities, Small Business, Community Impact, Law Enforcement and Public Safety, Schools, and Public Health. Each individual subcommittee has begun engagement and fact-finding around respective issues regarding legalization.
While no legislation has yet been passed to legalize recreational marijuana in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders in the state legislature have made clear their intention to affirmatively address the issue in the current legislative session.
The primary objective of the County Executive’s Task Force is to bring together leaders from across the County to study key local needs in advance of potential legalization, including the identification of equipment and training requirements for officers, public health protocols, zoning regulations, school safety requirements, new regulatory and licensing procedures, and tax revenue and business development implications. The overall goal is for Nassau County and its residents to be fully prepared for this potential change to New York State law on day one.