By Michael Schwamm
More than 520 cities, towns and villages (1/3 of all municipalities in New York state) have opted out of allowing cannabis retailers and consumption lounges in their municipalities as of the December 31 deadline, according to new data released by the OCM. Of that number, 75 municipalities opted out of consumption lounges, but will still allow cannabis retailers. On the other hand, three towns are banning retailers, but will allow consumption lounges.
Best guess is that some of the municipalities opted as they could always opt back in once the regulations are issued and they see how the market has developed. However, the converse is not true – if the municipality didn’t opt out by the deadline, the will not be able to subsequently prohibit dispensaries and consumption lounges within their borders. (Note: The opt-out provisions only apply to consumer-facing cannabis businesses like dispensaries and consumption lounges — not processing centers and cultivation sites.)