The Williston Park Board of Trustees unanimously voted Monday evening to pass a local law that requires future smoke shops in the village to be located at least 1,000 feet from schools, parks, houses of worship and other smoke shops and to conspicuously display signage that shows age restrictions on the sale of products sold in the store.
Mayor Paul Ehrbar said the law is intended to give the village more say.
“There seems to be a proliferation of smoke shops throughout Nassau County and I’d like to bring in some kind of control,” Ehrbar said during the public hearing. “I think this will give us a little bit more authority, I think we’ll provide better information for the residents and make this a better community for it.”
Trustees Kevin Rynne, William Carr and William O’Brien did not comment during the hearing while agreeing with the sentiments shared by Ehrbar. Trustee Michael Uttaro cited a News 12 report from late May that alleges a Great Neck smoke shop sold THC-laced edibles to a 12- and 13-year-old, causing a non-fatal overdose of THC.
Uttaro said that some smoke shops are portraying themselves as candy stores, which entices kids to enter.
“Our hope is we don’t want to have that here,” Uttaro said. “There’s nothing wrong with people having legitimate businesses, but when things like that occur, you’re drawing kids into a place that they shouldn’t be in at that point in their life. I think it’s a good thing to put in place and provide some good checks and balances to make sure that people are doing the right thing if they do want to bring that type of store to the village.”
Last July, the village opted out of allowing the sale of marijuana within its borders, following nearby villages and the Town of North Hempstead, among others.
Under state law, consumption and smoking of cannabis are now legal throughout New York wherever smoking tobacco is legal, barring any local laws prohibiting it.
According to Google Maps, Williston Park has two smoke shops on Hillside Avenue and one on Willis Avenue.
Tobacco shop owners/vendors have training programs available to them that have been approved by the state Health Department, according to the Nassau County Department of Health.
The next meeting for the Williston Park Board of Trustees will be Monday, June 27.