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County sets hearings on recreational marijuana

The Suffolk County Legislature is hosting public hearings on three controversial proposals during its meeting next week at the County Center in Riverside.

The issues up for discussion are recreational marijuana, banning single-use plastic straws and stirrers, and a requirement for businesses to use biodegradable products.

The regular meeting starts Tuesday, March 5 at 9:30 a.m. The public hearings start that afternoon at 2 p.m. The public is invited to speak out on the topics.

Ahead of Tuesday’s hearings, here is a breakdown of each proposal up for public input:

Recreational marijuana

Lawmakers want to prohibit the retail sale of marijuana products in the county. The legislation comes in light of the fact that New York State is considering the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, while giving local municipalities the option to opt out of the law.

The hearing notice states that “marijuana has long been regarded as a gateway drug that has long been an introduction to drug culture and can lead to the use and abuse of other substances.”

The proposed law also said marijuana impairs functions needed to safely complete tasks like operating a motor vehicle.

Straws and stirrers


Another push is to have single-use plastic beverage straws and stirrers be distributed by request only at restaurants.

The proposed legislation states that Americans collectively use 500 million plastic straws per day, “despite the fact that most people do not need a straw to drink their beverage.” It also states that straws are frequently ingested by marine life, which can cause death.

Biodegradable products

A third hearing deals with a proposed law to require businesses in Suffolk County to use biodegradable products.

“This Legislature further determines that alternative biodegradable food service items are readily available to meet the vast majority of food service needs,” the proposal reads.

It continues, “The use of biodegradable and/or compostable food service products will reduce the waste stream in Suffolk County and provide a commensurate reduction in waste disposal costs.”

There may be other hearings on the agenda.