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Public hearing set for Oct. 4 on town’s marijuana regulations

Riverhead Town officials have put potential marijuana regulations up for public hearing at its Oct. 4 meeting, which starts at 2 p.m. 

The state Office of Cannabis Management plans to distribute 20 conditional licenses on Long Island for adult-use retail of marijuana, and 150 statewide. Riverhead and Southampton are the only East End towns that didn’t vote to opt out of state legislation permitting the establishment of cannabis retail and consumption sites. 

Proposed legislation would permit retail and on-site establishments to serve customers over 21 in the Business Center; Shopping Center; Destination Retail Center; Rural Corridor; Downtown Centers 1, 2 and 3; Hamlet Center; Rural Corridor; Village Center; Peconic River Community; and Business F zoning districts.

Dispensaries and lounges would be restricted from proximity to residential areas, places of worship or where children are likely to be. Cannabis businesses would not be permitted: 

• Within a thousand feet of existing residential use or a mixed-use development containing a residential use.

• Within a thousand feet of any school, library or daycare facility.

• Within 500 feet of places of worship.

• Within 500 feet of any town beach, playground, community center or other areas dedicated to children. 

• Marijuana businesses would not be permitted within 2,500 feet of each other. 

Retail hours are limited between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weeknights, with hours extended to 10 p.m. on weekend nights. Sunday hours would be limited to noon to 10 p.m.

On-site consumption establishments may open between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weeknights and until 12 a.m., with sales cut off at 11 p.m., on Friday and Saturday. Lounges may open from noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. 

Employees must be at least 21 and verify that customers are over 21 before they enter business premises. Marijuana establishments must comply with state and local health and delivery regulations. 

They also may not operate from non–permanent structures like vehicles; serve food, alcohol or tobacco; or distribute coupons or give away products. Retail establishments may not permit on-site consumption of cannabis or cannabis products. 

Security plans must include cameras that monitor all areas except restrooms, with enough detail to identify facial features and clothing. Recordings must be kept for at least 30 days.

Processed marijuana and cash must be stored in a safe within the building. Refrigerated products must be locked. The alarm system must be monitored 24/7.

Businesses must also submit waste management plans, as well odor management plans to prevent cannabis from being smelled outside of the establishment, and keep records of complaints.

At a town board meeting Wednesday, resident Mike Foley said he appreciates the effort to include as many perspectives as possible in the process to come up with the regulations, even though he doesn’t agree with all the proposals. 

“I just want to commend the Town Board for where we’re going right now. There are only four communities on Long Island that have agreed to put this on,” he said. “If we put this in the right direction, we are going to generate tremendous revenue for the town that will not only give us the work, the money that we need to improve security and cameras and all the other things that we need to make this a better town, but draw tremendous business into our town that will help ignite the entire town economy.”