Shelter Island Hearing Set for Pot Opt-Out Proposal

Cannabis entrepreneur Fetti lights a hybrid strain joint of his marijuana brand "PowerPuff" at a home in New York, U.S. April 1, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Town of Shelter Island officials are moving ahead with a plan to opt out of allowing newly legalized marijuana pot shops and cannabis cafés from opening in the community. 

The town scheduled a public hearing on the topic at 4:52 p.m. Friday, May 28. Town officials said that passing a weed sales ban now will give the public a chance to petition for a referendum on the question in time for Election Day.

“We’re giving the public the option so that if they come up with the referendum, we can put it on the ballot in November,” Shelter Island Town Supervisor Gerry Siller said during a May 7 board meeting. “It wasn’t our decision to make. We felt it was the public’s decision.”

The supervisor noted that such a referendum could offer a choice of whether retail locations only, on-site consumption lounges, or both could be allowed. Such referenda are allowed under a recently enacted New York State law that legalized use of recreational marijuana for adults older than 21.

The town also plans to hold a public hearing on a related proposal to prohibit smoking both tobacco and marijuana in town-owned parks. That hearing will immediately follow the one on the pot sales proposal. Several East End villages have also discussed a ban on smoking pot in some public places, but Shelter Island is the first in the region to advance a bill.

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