Riverhead to hold key recreational marijuana sales vote
Riverhead officials will vote on whether or not to allow retail marijuana in town on Wednesday.
A public hearing on June 15 drew a mixture of opinions from both pro and against withdrawing a New York state law passed in April that legalized recreational marijuana.
The city also released a poll that ended in May, asking residents if the city should allow sales. There were 1,408 people who responded to the survey – 86.7% said they were residents of Riverhead and 13.3% identified as business owners – and of these, 73.4% supported in-store marijuana sales and 26.6% opposed it.
Riverhead supervisor Yvette Aguiar told Newsday last week that the survey only covered a sample of the town’s population of around 33,000. While noting that the investigation was a key tool in understanding public sentiment on the matter, Aguiar said she had also received letters from local churches opposing the retail sale of marijuana.
“When you talk about research validity, it’s good to have the survey, you don’t ignore it, but you use it as one of the tools to justify how and why you contact people,” said Aguiar.
The survey also asked respondents where in town retail sales should be allowed. Most, 36.8%, voted for downtown; 21.9% voted for Route 58; 9.6% favor industrial zones; and 8% voted for other areas. Almost 24% of respondents voted for none of the suggested areas.
Other municipalities have indicated that they will seek to withdraw from marijuana sales. Babylon Town supervisor Richard Schaffer said all communities on Long Island should step back from retail cannabis sales. Freeport officials said in April that the village would likely withdraw, and Hempstead Town officials in April also said they would seek to withdraw.
Meet at 2 p.m. at the town hall.