Quogue Eyes Public Pot Smoking Ban

A man smokes a hybrid strain joint of cannabis at his home in New York
A man smokes a hybrid strain joint of cannabis at his home in New York, U.S. April 1, 2021. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill on Wednesday to legalize adult use of marijuana, making it the 15th U.S. state to allow recreational use of the drug. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Village of Quogue officials are debating whether to ban smoking marijuana in village parks after New York State recently legalized possession and use of cannabis by adults older than 21. 

Mayor Peter Sartorius and board members expressed support for opting out of allowing sales at pot shops and cannabis cafés, but officials said their priority is how to regulate members of the public smoking marijuana in open spaces—and getting such a law in place before the summer crowds return to hit the beach.

“If somebody next to you lights up, it’s going to become an issue,” Quogue Police Chief Chris Isola told the village board at its April 16 board meeting. “I think that we should take it on as quickly as possible.”

The state legalized marijuana last month, but towns and villages have until December 31 to decide whether to opt out of allowing sales in their communities. But since the neighboring Shinnecock Indian Nation announced plans to open a dispensary in Southampton this year, and the tribe is not bound by town laws, some have questioned whether opting out would be effective.

As for regulating the public consumption of marijuana, Sartorius said he’ll draft legislation that he’ll introduce at the board’s May meeting.

“We could do this on every public street in Quogue if we wanted to,” he said.

Related Story: Pot Prohibition Ends: East End Towns, Villages to Decide on Legal Weed Sales Opt Out

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