Town of North Hempstead Bans Recreational Marijuana Through Its Zoning Power

January 21, 2019

The Town of North Hempstead decided to ban recreational marijuana even before it becomes legal in New York. At its January 8, 2019 meeting, the Town Board unanimously adopted Local Law 1-2019, amending the Town zoning code, to prohibit the retail sale, distribution or offer of consumption of marijuana in all use districts.

The local law provides that no building, structure or premises approved or used as a medical marijuana dispensary may be used as a marijuana retail store. The local law also provides that no other building, structure or premises within any use district may be used for the sale, distribution or offer for consumption of marijuana or marijuana products in a retail setting or environment for non-medical use.

In a press release following the adoption of the local law, Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth noted that the Town Board members “certainly understand and support the need for medical marijuana dispensaries and their place in alleviating pain and discomfort in patients, we feel that this law prohibiting the sale of recreational marijuana addresses the concerns brought to us by many residents.”

This is not the first time the Town of North Hempstead used its zoning power to enact a local law controlling marijuana within its borders. In December 2018, the Town Board unanimously approved Local Law 12-2018, which restricts the location of medical marijuana dispensaries. Such facilities are prohibited from being located within 1,000 feet of a school, park, child care center or house of worship. These dispensaries also cannot be located within 500 feet of a Town residential district. The local law limits the number of dispensaries in the Town to two.

We shall see if other municipalities decide to use zoning to ban or control marijuana use within their borders. Stayed tuned for more developments.