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Feb 12, 2019 2:39 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Village Mayor Voices His Opposition To Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Use

Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. and the East Hampton Village Board of Trustees.
Feb 12, 2019 3:18 PM

East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. criticized Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s push to legalize the recreational use of marijuana at a recent Village Board work session, predicting a proliferation of new “head shops” in Suffolk County, as well as more impaired drivers on the roads.

In December, in outlining his agenda for the first 100 days of his third term, Mr. Cuomo had announced plans to seek the legalization of recreational marijuana this year, which he estimated could generate more than $1.7 billion annually in sales. Estimated state and local tax revenue for the first year would range between $248 million and $677million, depending on the tax rate.

Mr. Rickenbach told fellow board members, and others, at the end of a February 7 Village Board work session that he’d written a letter to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone conveying “strong opposition” to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Suffolk County and urging the county to opt out.

Although opposed to recreational use, Mr. Rickenbach made it clear that he supports the use of medicinal marijuana “under the purview of a physician’s care,” adding that it has shown to benefit healing.

He expressed appreciation for the governor’s initiative to develop additional revenue streams, but Mr. Rickenbach said there must be a better way.

“Do we have to do this to obtain money?” said the mayor, a former law enforcement official. “What kind of message are we sending when we are taking steps to legalize the use of substances that are highly addictive and are considered gateway drugs to much more dangerous substances?”

He added, “I must urge all of us to take a moment and consider the ramifications of such legislative actions on our local communities.”

Mr. Rickenbach said he was speaking only on his own behalf, not that of the entire Village Board.

He emphasized the negative effect that marijuana has on one’s ability to drive, noting that, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination and reaction time, and that studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability.

“Recreational use of marijuana has no health benefit, and the potential impacts to society are largely unknown and deserve more study before governments move ahead with any legalization efforts,” Mr. Rickenbach said.

Currently, 10 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and in 2016, New York State legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. In January’s 2019 executive budget address, the governor directed the Department of Health to conduct a study, in consultation with other state agencies, to review the health, criminal justice and economic impacts of a regulated marijuana program in the New York State.

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I truly don’t understand the political left on this. Pot is already decriminalized in NYC, and now parents have to walk their kids to school through wafts of sidewalk pot smoke. Road safety statistics in Colorado are on a terrible downward trajectory since legalization. Local communities need to rally here against Cuomo’s pandering to the socialists before the degradation comes to our own streets. The new left can experiment on the people, wherever they are, who are crazy enough to vote ...more
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Feb 15, 19 11:23 AM
So it sounds like you agree with the provision that would allow local government to ban sales in their jurisdiction.

If people in Southampton don't want to allow local sales that's certainly their prerogative. They still should be protected from criminal consequences of possessing a plant.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 15, 19 12:05 PM
It's going to be legalized nationally in the next few years anyway so your point is moot.
By hojo (10), Speonk on Feb 15, 19 3:33 PM
THC has the potential to remain in the body for weeks. Unless you have true statistical proof of THC content in micrograms per liter of blood post accident, all you have is a positive test. And, possibly a case of apophenia.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 15, 19 10:01 PM
As soon as someone can tell me how to effectively (1) keep it out of public places, and (2) keep stoned drivers off the streets (ps, in both cases, just like alcohol), then I’ve got a totally open mind on decriminalization. But these people who just want to decriminalize at any cost, I hope they start losing more.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Feb 15, 19 12:42 PM
I think your concern about detecting DUI is VERY valid.

Because of the way cannabis is processed and the variety of ways it can be consumed, there is no "breathalyzer" as we've come to understand it. Many will suggest "swab" tests but those can be easily circumvented by simple acts such as eating a meal or using mouthwash, and may not even detect all forms of consumption such as swallowable capsules or (and yes, this exists) suppositories.

The amount of time cannabis stays in the ...more
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 15, 19 12:58 PM
I live in Manhattan and walk my kids to school every day. MAYBE 1x a week I smell marijuana. I'm not inhaling smoke but I do recognize the smell. My kids are not exposed to it, nor do they know what the smell is. Its funny the reaction that comes from people with closed minds who hate freedom and change
By PatrickKing (15), Sah Harbor on Feb 15, 19 12:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
People have been smoking weed on the streets of NYC since the '40s. This is nothing new.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Feb 15, 19 12:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
I agree in principle, but this ain't the pot your parents puffed...any government action on cannabis should be taken deliberately and with open eyes.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 15, 19 1:22 PM
Your governor is blowing smoke again. Doesn't care about the problems associated with smoking pot. NO NO NO
All he thinks about is the TAX MONIES,,, Think he smokes it now??? We don't smoke, but watch friends after they smoke. No a good thing.
Than you Paul...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Feb 15, 19 1:38 PM
Have you ever seen someone drunk? That's not particularly pretty either, yet it's legal and the world hasn't burned down yet.

Has someone ever been drunk around you and you didn't even know it? How many times do you think the same has been true of people who were high?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 15, 19 2:34 PM
That line of reasoning, that alcohol results in addiction, suffering of families, deaths on the road, and therefore legalizing cannabis with little regard of the consequences as has been done to this point, could be used to justify legalizing pretty much every other drug.

After all, cigarettes are more addictive than cocaine, and result in more deaths. Heroin addicts tend to sleep off their highs, and therefore present less of a threat of violence or road deaths. For someone who claims ...more
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Feb 15, 19 2:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
Do you know WHY pot was deemed illegal in the first place?
By hojo (10), Speonk on Feb 15, 19 3:28 PM
Wow, this right here is something special: "Heroin addicts tend to sleep off their highs"

Yes, some refer to it as the "eternal sleep"
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Feb 15, 19 3:39 PM
Do you think most heroin users do it once or twice and die?

People often go for many years or decades, using it thousands of times before, and if, they die of an overdose. When they do use "nodding off" is the most common result.

So the only thing special here is how brazenly you display your ignorance.
By NateNewtown (99), east on Feb 15, 19 4:50 PM
NateNewtown, how about “nodding off” while driving?Re-read your last sentence,you just displayed your ignorance.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Feb 15, 19 5:19 PM
Cannabis was made illegal on June 14, 1937 because William Randolph Hearst had vast timber holdings, and newspapers to print. Additionally, DuPont had a petrochemical empire to maintain and build.

So, hemp as a direct competitor had to go and the drug angle worked very well.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 15, 19 10:04 PM
2 members liked this comment
72,000 Americans died last year from drug overdoses. Wanna take a stab at how many of those were caused by marijuana? Your type of ignorance is the worst kind: willful.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Feb 18, 19 9:20 AM
People have been smoking weed forever. All the concerns are already happening. The government is just cutting out the middleman.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Feb 15, 19 1:39 PM
To suggest the easier availability will not result in significantly increased use defies all logic. Not everyone knows a drug dealer, or cares to be involved with one. For many people the mere illegality of it prevents their use. What is the plan to deal with more drugged drivers? More manifestations of latent mental illness? More workers high on the job? The inevitable diversion of the drug to even more young people then are already damaging their brain development? What's that? There's no plan? ...more
By MoronEliminator (215), Montauk on Feb 15, 19 3:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
Agree. Does anyone out there think that drinking didnt explode after Prohibition? I’m not exactly sure what good is done by making us a more stoned society. Maybe the junk food companies like it.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Feb 15, 19 3:30 PM
So do you think we would have been better off if alcohol prohibition had never ended?

If so, you're probably not alone, but probably not in the majority either. My body, my choice!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 15, 19 4:02 PM
Moron would rather see the cannabis proceeds in the hands of the black market, instead of the people, apparently...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Feb 17, 19 5:44 AM
CPalmer,people were drinking during prohibition, just not in public. People are smoking weed, just not in public. I’ve been stomping around on this earth for over 60 yrs. I’ve seen all kinds of people do all kinds of crazy stuff. Drinking and drugs, coke, meth , smack and the likes caused more bad stuff then I can tell about. If they smoked weed , most of the stuff wouldn’t of happened. I’ve seen people drunk and drugged up do horrible things, never with weed.I don’t ...more
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Feb 15, 19 3:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
I think the outrage is rooted in an American tradition: puritanism.

It just turns out that they're fighting an even stronger one: freedom.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 15, 19 4:04 PM
3 members liked this comment
Then why not legalize all drugs? I see plenty of rational arguments to the contrary, but in typical fashion you ignore those and revert to your typical condescending stereotypes of Americans. I wonder what makes America so inferior to the country of you birth. Perhaps you could elaborate on the paradise your parents decided to cruelly snatch you away from. Or perhaps it was not a paradise, but whatever ills troubled it were all the fault of the USA, right?
By NateNewtown (99), east on Feb 15, 19 4:41 PM
Puritans were among the first settlers in the U.S. How is that condescending?

I don't think I ever said my place of birth was better than the place I call home.

As for legalizing all drugs, you raise a good point: where should we draw the line? Amphetamine? Nicotene? Caffeine?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 15, 19 5:12 PM
WHO WERE THE FIRST SETTLERS IN YOUR NATIVE LAND ?
By themarlinspike (542), southampton on Feb 15, 19 10:50 PM
Frankly I'm not sure, and I'm not sure anyone is. I suppose it depends on whether you're asking about the prehistoric settlement of the continent as a whole or specifically the land that evolved into the nation I was born in.

Why are you yelling though?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 16, 19 1:24 AM
It was monkeys.
By themarlinspike (542), southampton on Feb 16, 19 11:15 AM
Marlin: those must have been some smart monkeys.

Icecreamman: and I like to avoid giving internet strangers details about my life that are too personal. Sorry!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 17, 19 7:38 AM
Your monkeys intelligence peaked 200,000 years ago and its been down hill for you since. It's the history of the left.
By themarlinspike (542), southampton on Feb 17, 19 8:10 AM
Lol, thanks! I think you dropped an apostrophe on "monkeys", though. Also "downhill" is one word.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 17, 19 6:21 PM
NateNewtown, what makes you think he’s not an American? If you are a citizen, aren’t you an American? You accuse him of being condescending, then you make condescending comments about him. The irony is plentiful.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Feb 15, 19 5:08 PM
Thanks, Fred. I thought I was being funny but you can't make everyone happy...that's what cannabis is for! LOL
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 15, 19 5:14 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By themarlinspike (542), southampton on Feb 17, 19 8:46 AM
The left in America is "Up In Smoke".
By themarlinspike (542), southampton on Feb 18, 19 9:48 AM
I'm not employed by CNN, I'm just here for fun, and to remind people like Marlin that despite my ancestors intelligence "peaking 200,000 years ago" and it only being "down hill for [me] since then" I still have better command of the English language than he does.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 18, 19 11:15 AM
Keep inhaling junior.
By themarlinspike (542), southampton on Feb 19, 19 8:32 AM
1 member liked this comment
And that's your second comment. Sayonara till tomorrow!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 19, 19 8:39 AM
@ NateNewton

Quote:

"Then why not legalize all drugs?"
----------------------------------------------

An excellent question. Why not allow citizens to make their own decisions about recreational drug use? Why not try to remediate the consequences of the bad decisions that they may make rather than criminalize everyone? (Perhaps we should spend billions on research [pharmaceutical and behavioral] to reverse the mentally distorting and disabling effects of drug use ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Feb 18, 19 3:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
No borders, no drug laws and a defender of a child pornographer , liberalism is truly a mental disorder.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 21, 19 10:29 AM
Cannabis is enjoyable to ingest : )
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Feb 18, 19 4:27 PM
All I know is since I was a kid I have had people telling me no to drink, not to smoke; it is bad for you. Now we have elected leaders promoting it? What right do I have as an employer, can I have a policy where no employee smoke pot, period? I don't want it around me, I don't want it in my business, I don't want to be around people who use it. Pot is just a gateway drug.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Feb 19, 19 6:57 AM
You raise good points! (Except for repeating the propaganda you were indoctrinated with, which is a terrible point. By that logic caffeine is a gateway drug).

In most states you can be fired for anything other than membership in a protected class (race/religion/gender, etc.) so cannabis use can be a legal fireable offense.

Some states, such as Colorado, have laws against dismissals for legal off-duty conduct, but since cannabis is still illegal under federal law those laws don't ...more
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 19, 19 8:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
I don't want it around me either. I hate the way it smells and I can't stand to be around people that are high.
By pigroast (100), East Quogue on Feb 19, 19 8:33 AM
Thanks Fore. I do try not to have my first cup of coffee until I have been up for an hour, let your body wake up naturally before you drink coffee and I limit myself to 2 cups a day and 1 decaff in the afternoon.

I like coffee but too much of anything can be bad.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Feb 19, 19 8:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
Certainly too much of anything is a bad thing, be it cannabis, cocaine, or cookies.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Feb 19, 19 8:57 AM
1 member liked this comment
According to the National Institutes of Health, 88,000 people die annually from alcohol related causes in the US. It is physically impossible to die from ingesting too much cannabis. Man made alcohol, G-d made ganja -- who are you going to trust? Making a plant illegal is silly. -- To the tune of Row, row, row your boat -- "Roll, roll, roll a joint, lick it at the end, take a told of the magic smoke and pass it to a friend".
Feb 19, 19 8:40 PM appended by Aeshtron
Roll, roll, roll a joint, lick it at the end, take a toke of the magic smoke and pass it to a friend. silly autocorrect in my comment
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Feb 19, 19 8:40 PM