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Advisory committee discusses marijuana regulations such as hours of operation

Members of an advisory committee set up by the Riverhead Town Board to provide input on marijuana-related issues discussed the hours of operation for marijuana sales, along with the distance they should be from schools, parks and churches and requirements for security at its meeting Wednesday. 

The state last year allowed for adult recreational consumption as well as the retail sale of marijuana. The state also allowed municipalities to opt-out of the recreational use and retail sale of marijuana. However, the Riverhead Town Board opted not to opt-out in a 3-2 vote, with Supervisor Yvette Aguiar and Councilman Ken Rothwell being in the minority. 

By not opting out, Riverhead is entitled to a portion of tax revenue generated by the marijuana sales. 

Deputy Town Attorney Annemarie Prudenti said that under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, the town still has the power to regulate “time, place and manor” issues pertaining to marijuana businesses.  

Establishments seeking to sell marijuana must be at least 500 feet from all schools and 200 feet from places of worship, according to the state law. State education law already prohibits tobacco on school grounds. 

Advertising of marijuana must be at least 500 feet from school grounds, playgrounds, child care, public parks and libraries, according to officials.  

The state also can designate parks, swimming pools, beaches, athletic fields and recreational faculties as smoke-free. 

• Hours of Operation

Ms. Prudenti suggested hours of operations for businesses selling marijuana, which, she said, are similar to the state’s Alcohol and Beverage Control laws. Ms. Prudenti is recommending retail sale of marijuana be sold from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. 

As for on-site consumption hours of operation, she recommends 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. 

Resident Mike Foley, an advocate of legalizing marijuana, suggested the 9 a.m. is too early. He suggested 11 a.m. 

The proposal otherwise did not run into opposition. 

• Security

David Kalkowski, a Bridgehampton marijuana grower who serves as the Long Island Chairman of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors, said that medicinal growers, dispensaries, labs and delivery vehicles “all have very stringent security requirements.” 

He said issues like security, odors and waste management “will definitely be addressed” by the state. 

“We don’t want somebody putting expired product in the garbage can out back and some high school kids grab it,” he said.