Recreational marijuana may have gotten the green light in Albany earlier this week, but the fight is heating up on Long Island as some are calling for all towns there to "opt out" of selling pot in stores.
The town supervisor for Babylon is leading that call to action, urging all town to choose against selling the drug once doing so becomes legal.
"I am going to throw out there that we should consider an opt out island-wide," said Richard Schaffer. He said doing such an all-encompassing ban would minimize what he sees as legal pot's negative impact.
"We're protecting our quality of life and we're not creating a whole host of problems that could end up costing us lives and resources," Schaffer added.
New York's sweeping new marijuana law allows "cities, towns and villages to opt out of allowing cannabis retail dispensaries as well as on-site consumption licenses." Schaffer plans on pitching his regional opt out plan next week at a meeting of Long Island town supervisors. The idea from the Democratic supervisor is already drawing bi-partisan support.
However, not all in the community are on board with that plan. The manager of a CBD and hemp shop in Babylon said marijuana fears are the result of a lack of education on the drug, and believes that weed can be sold responsibly in stores like his.
"That negative connotation that sticks with it in some people's minds ... If you're approving all these liquor stores, I can't see why cannabis can't be in the same town," said Steven Lacks, of Kashi Health & Wellness.
Others who are not in the marijuana business also supported having the stores around.
"I believe that it's fine, I don't care. They do it anyway, might as well capitalize on it," said Lucia Provenzano, who owns a vintage store in the town.
The debate over whether or not to have dispensaries on Long Island will likely continue to grow louder. Local government have until the end of the year to vote on if they want to exercise the opt out or not.