Opting In is now the logical choice.
I love Long Beach! In September 2020, when COVID forced my family out of Brooklyn, the only place I wanted to move was Long Beach.
Of course, the beach was a draw but we chose Long Beach because of the community, the warmth of the tight-knit neighborhoods, citizens’ sense of pride, the safety, the schools, and the incredible mix of businesses, retailers, and restaurants and bars.
The City by the Sea was the perfect place to call home.
In 2021, as a Long Beach newbie, I quietly listened to the local “opt-in” debate - and I understood the apprehensions.
However, the landscape has now changed. As an active and committed Long Beach resident and a cannabis executive and activist, I can no longer stand on the sidelines and watch Long Beach squander this unique opportunity. Long Beach should “opt in” now and allow a local cannabis dispensary in our borders, ensuring our community’s continuity and safety.
Cannabis is here and here to stay. In New York State, it is legal for adults 21+ to consume; more than 60 retail dispensary licenses have been issued; and two adult-use licensed dispensaries are operational in Manhattan with many more to come.
Long Beach is in financial distress. City Officials are considering increasing the cost of beach passes or installing parking meters. But what about cannabis? Why not opt-in and allow a cannabis dispensary? Only municipalities that opt-in will receive a portion of local dispensary tax revenue. No local dispensary, no tax revenue.
Economists project that if Long Beach opts-in, cannabis tax revenue would exceed $6 million over the next five years – on average, adding more than $1 million annually to city coffers.
Fear is holding back city leadership – and while the unknown can be frightening, the reality is that cannabis today is no longer “unknown” with 21 states plus Washington D.C. and Guam having legalized adult-use cannabis. If we want our great city to flourish, we must peel back the reefer madness rhetoric, look at the facts, and evolve our thinking.
Safe regulated local cannabis dispensaries will add significant much-needed tax revenue AND keep our community safe. Studies confirm that a local dispensary will:
NOT increase underage access to cannabis
NOT increase overall drug use – cannabis is NOT a gateway drug
NOT increase crime
NOT increase traffic accidents
Alternatively, studies indicate that a local legal dispensary WILL:
INCREASE local tax revenue
INCREASE the value of local homes
DECREASE the sale of illicit and unsafe cannabis
So, while I heartily respect Long Beach leadership’s measured approach to date, now is the time to act. We should opt-in, secure a safe, regulated, local dispensary, and preserve, protect, and enhance Long Beach.
More detailed information, including links to the studies referenced above, is available at https://shop-poplar.com/pages/lbnyoptin
Beryl Solomon Jackowitz is a Long Beach resident and a cannabis entrepreneur and activist.