Legal Analysts

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Zoning Ordinances Banning the Sale of Medical Marijuana Likely Discriminate Against People With Disabilities

Jessica Vogele, the number one ranked law student in the 2L class at Touro Law Center who is also a Law Clerk at Lieb at Law, P.C. addresses the most hot-button issue on Long Island today by delving into the zoning of medical marijuana facilities within her article published in The Suffolk Lawyer.

In July 2015, the New York State Department of Health licensed five companies to manufacture and sell medical marijuana in compliance with the Compassionate Care Act of 2014. Although no manufacturing plants will be located on Long Island, there are plans to build two dispensaries – one in Nassau County and the other in Suffolk County. The proposed site for Suffolk County is located in the Town of Riverhead and has met considerable resistance from town residents due to its proximity to a high school and the risks of increased violent crime and traffic generally associated with medical marijuana dispensaries. This backlash against the proposed site has prompted the Village of Islandia to preemptively amend its zoning ordinance in order to ensure that no dispensaries will be placed
within the village’s boundaries in the future.

The issue here is whether the village’s new zoning ordinance, which prohibits the sale of medical marijuana dispensaries within its boundaries, discriminates against people with disabilities.