Advocates, critics of legal pot attend Nassau hearing

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Nassau County is considering what, if anything, it should do if the state legalizes the adult use of recreational marijuana.

Residents aired their concerns Wednesday night at the first public hearing on the potential legalization of pot and its effects on the county.

Gia Cuccaro, of Levittown, says recreational pot should be legalized if it would lower taxes. Claudia Boyle, of the Nassau Alliance for Addiction Services, says the drug's legalization should be prevented.

Experts from law enforcement, schools and drug recovery centers testified before the county Legislature's Health and Social Services Committee.

"The conflict between the federal and state laws regarding the legalization of marijuana creates a predicament for law enforcement," says Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.

And Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, of the Family and Children's Association, says states that have legalized marijuana have seen an uptick in youth pot use.

Legislators say they're gathering information to determine key local needs if recreational marijuana becomes state law, including training requirements for police officers, public health protocols, school safety requirements and zoning regulations.

Three more public hearings will be held.

By March 15, the county's marijuana task force will produce a report on the preparation needed for the potential legalization of recreational pot.

Related stories:
Town of Hempstead to vote on moratorium for recreational pot sales
Nassau creates task force to prepare for possibility of legal pot
Suffolk legislator wants to ban recreational pot sales if legalized in NY

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