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Two Long Island mayors will ‘opt out’ of legal marijuana

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Two mayors on Long Island want to “opt out” of selling marijuana in their municipalities when the green bud becomes legal in the Empire State.

The mayors told The Post that the risks of fatal car accidents due to weed smoking could outweigh the benefits of collecting three percent in sales tax revenues from pot sales.

“We don’t need the revenue that badly. I’ll find alternative ways to find revenue,” said Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy, a Democrat who is past president of the New York State Conference of Mayors.

“We don’t need additional deaths,” added Kennedy, referring to driving accidents that occur while driving are under the influence.

Freeport is the second largest village in the state with 45,000 residents.

Rockville Center Mayor Francis Murray also cited the problem of driving while high as reason while he will urge his village not to sell weed.

“My vote is to opt out,” he said.

New Yorkers can store up to five pounds of cannabis in their residence under the proposed law.

The state Legislature is expected to pass the marijuana legalization bill later tonight and Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign it into law.

The bill to be voted on by state lawmakers calls for a study to find a scientific way to test for driving while high, just as there is for drunk driving.

Under the bill, cities, towns and villages are able to opt out and bar the sales of cannabis in their vicinity. The area’s governing body would have to pass a local law to opt out by Dec. 31, 2021.

Large swaths of jurisdictions in other states that have legalized marijuana including California, Colorado, Massachusetts and Oregon have refused to sell weed.

The resistance to selling pot in neighboring Nassau County and other nearby communities could trigger thousands of suburbanites to buy weed in the Big Apple, where legalization has been embraced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city leaders.

Sales are expected to begin sometime in 2022.

Studies have shown about one-third of Gotham’s young adults ages 18 to 25 smoke pot.

The new bill will allow New Yorkers to have up to three indoor cannabis plants and three outdoor plants.
The new bill will allow New Yorkers to have up to three indoor cannabis plants and three outdoor plants.
Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Like de Blasio, upstate Binghamton Mayor Richard David also said his city will sell pot.

“I want to make sure the city secures the revenue,” said David, adding it “doesn’t make any sense” to urge citizens to drive to another municipality nearby that sells cannabis.

State prosecutors agree that road safety poses the biggest challenge.

“The problems will be exacerbated by the legalization of marijuana and edibles containing THC,” said Monroe County DA Sandra Doorley, president of the NYS State District Attorneys Association.

“There will soon be many new and odorless ways of ingesting marijuana into your body that will cause observable impairment, but because of the requirement to name the substance, prosecutors will not be able to hold someone accountable who drives under the influence.”

The marijuana legislation, finalized over the weekend, will create a new Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board, falling under the purview of the State Liquor Authority.

A combined 13 percent tax will be placed on retail sales — 9 percent will head to state coffers, three percent to municipal governments such as cities, towns and villages and one percent to county governments.

Once fully up and running, the pot program is expected to raise approximately $350 million in tax revenue which will flow into a “Cannabis Revenue Fund,” providing a 40 percent split going to the State Lottery Fund for education, 40 percent to the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund for social/economic equity programs and 20 percent to the Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund.

The measure also establishes a goal to issue 50 percent of marijuana retail licenses to applicants in minority and low-income communities disproportionately impacted by criminal drug prosecutions and the war on drugs.

The bill allows individuals to grow up to three indoor cannabis plants and three outdoor plants, with a maximum total per household set at 12 plants.

There is also a five pound possession limit at home for individuals.

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Suspect arrested in fatal Brooklyn stabbing

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Police have apprehended a suspect in the fatal December stabbing of a Brooklyn man, cops said on Saturday.

The suspect, John Headley, 32, also of Brooklyn, was taken into custody Friday and charged with murder and weapons possession for the Dec. 12 knifing of Ken Baird, 37, police said.

Baird was stabbed multiple times in the chest following a dispute on Crown Street near Utica Avenue in Crown Heights at about 6:40 p.m., police said.

EMS transported Baird to King County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

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Man dies after jumping from Staten Island Ferry

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A 53-year-old man died Saturday after jumping from the Staten Island Ferry into the chilly waters of New York Harbor, police said.

NYPD Harbor launch officers pulled the man out of the water after responding to reports of a jumper near the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan at around 2 p.m.

“He jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock,” an NYPD spokesman told The Post. He jumped off the Ferryboat Andrew J. Barberi, police said.

The unidentified victim was removed to Pier 11 and transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 3:10 p.m.

A newsstand worker said there were “about 50 or so emergency people” at Pier 11 following a valiant effort — which included CPR — to save the man’s life.

Ferry1

An NYPD spokesman says the 53-year-old man “jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock.”

Michael Dalton

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The 53-year-old man was transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Michael Dalton

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Kemp Lashes M.L.B. as Republicans Defend Georgia’s Voting Law

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Mr. Kemp, who is gearing up to run for re-election in 2022, has striven to re-enter the good graces of Republican voters after becoming a central political target of former President Donald J. Trump because of his refusal to help Mr. Trump overturn the state’s election results last year. A former secretary of state of Georgia who has his own record of decisions that made voting harder for the state’s residents, he is again a key G.O.P. voice leading the charge on the issue.

On Saturday, he repeatedly tried to paint the league’s decision as driven by Stacey Abrams, the voting rights advocate and former Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia who is seen as likely to challenge Mr. Kemp again next year.

Ms. Abrams, one of the most prominent critics of Georgia’s voting law, has pushed back on calls for sports leagues and corporations to boycott the state. She said on Friday that she was “disappointed” baseball officials had pulled the All-Star Game but that she was “proud of their stance on voting rights.”

In defending the law in Georgia, Mr. Kemp singled out two Democratically controlled states, New York and Delaware, and compared their voting regulations with the new law in Georgia. Those states do not offer as many options for early voting as Georgia does, but they have also not passed new laws instituting restrictions on voting.

“In New York, they have 10 days of early voting,” Mr. Kemp said (New York actually has nine). “In Georgia, we have a minimum of 17, with two additional Sundays that are optional in our state. In New York, you have to have an excuse to vote absentee. In Georgia, you can vote absentee for any reason.”

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