Village cannabis withdrawal vote scheduled for December 20 | Herald Community Newspapers

After much debate and hours of public commentary from various stakeholders, business groups and residents, Valley Stream village officials are closing in on a decision on the future of cannabis sales in the village. For months, they wondered whether they should pass an opt-out resolution that would ban cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption salons under municipal jurisdiction.
This question has been answered, quite a bit. During a working session in the village earlier this month, most of the directors, five to one, decided to vote on the resolution.
Had the trustees decided not to vote on the opt-out resolution, a state law allowing dispensaries and consumer lounges would have automatically come into effect in the village at the end of the year.
On Monday, directors unanimously approved a motion to schedule a vote on the withdrawal measure for December 20. Administrator Vincent Grasso, the only board member who supports cannabis sales in the village, did not attend the meeting.
At that time, the village will hold a public hearing on whether to allow a permissive referendum or a mandatory referendum in the event that residents want to override a board decision to ban dispensaries and salons. of consumption. State law allows residents to try to override the council’s decision, but only in a public referendum.

In a permissive referendum, residents are expected to submit a petition signed by 20 percent of registered voters in the village’s last election within 30 days of passing local law to override the council’s removal decision, according to reports. state officials. There were 26,267 registered voters in the last village elections in 2020. This would mean that more than 5,000 residents’ signatures would have to be collected to hold the referendum.

In a mandatory referendum, the village would bear the cost of holding an election on whether to override the decision to withdraw cannabis. If administrators vote for a mandatory referendum, a special election on whether to allow dispensaries and consumer salons is expected to take place, at an expected cost of $ 75,000, according to village officials.

Village Clerk James Hunter said Valley Stream “should get it all through the [Nassau County] Council of Elections ”in order to hold the vote. “It has to be run like any election for trustee or mayor,” Hunter said. “We need to get machines, polling stations, poll observers, staff and ballots. We have people who work from the opening of the polling stations until the closing of the polling stations. There is a lot to be done to organize an election, but if we had to do it, we will. We are going to do it.

“I am in favor of the mandatory referendum, even if it costs $ 75,000,” said trustee Dermond Thomas during the working session. “People need to be heard. ”

“I am ready to compromise with my colleagues and vote for the compulsory referendum to hand it over to the people. I think that’s the fairest and best compromise because people should have a say, ”Grasso said in a phone interview with the Herald. “.. Having petitioned for electoral action, I know it is a very difficult and expensive process.”

“There is no price too high for people to have a say,” he added.

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