A revised zoning proposal in Oyster Bay that would treat vaping shops and potential marijuana dispensaries the same has some in the e-cigarette industry calling foul.
The Oyster Bay Town Board plans to hold a special hearing Tuesday on the proposed local law. It would require vaping shops, hookah lounges and marijuana dispensaries to be located in areas zoned for light industry and to obtain a special-use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
A similar proposal — which didn’t include marijuana dispensaries — was shelved after pushback at a 2019 hearing from Long Island vaping merchants and a state trade group.
The town has revived the issue as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Legislature negotiate the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in New York, which could be included in the budget scheduled to pass next week.
Cheryl Richter, executive director of the New York State Vapor Association, an e-cigarette trade group, said it was unfair to link nicotine products to marijuana.
“Nicotine doesn’t impair anybody’s ability to drive,” Richter said. “Marijuana’s not our issue.”
Electronic cigarettes warm a liquid containing nicotine so that it becomes a vapor that the user inhales. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that their use is unsafe for children, teens and young adults, and state law prohibits their sale to those under 21.
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Richter said e-cigarette users use them to quit smoking and that the zoning restrictions would limit “access to their harm-reduction product that they chose to help save their lives.”
Matt Flax, the owner of Vaporville, an e-cigarette