Empire State Cannabis Update: Municipality Opt-Outs Are Final—What Now?


January 10, 2022 Joseph Schafer   There has been a lot of talk about “opting out” since New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was passed on March 31, 2021.  The MRTA set a deadline of December 31, 2021, for the state’s municipalities to decide whether or not they would allow adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries and on-site consumption lounges within their respective boundaries.  If a municipality failed to opt out of both of these license types by the year-end deadline, it was automatically opted in for both and could not reverse such a decision. On the other hand, as long as a municipality affirmatively opted out by the deadline, it could change its mind at any time and opt in to retail dispensaries and/or on-site consumption lounges.  See MRTA § 131(1). Now that the deadline has expired, the results are in.  According to the SUNY Rockefeller Institute of Government’s Municipal Opt-Out Tracker, 692 of New York’s 1,520 municipalities resolved to prohibit retail dispensaries, while 790 municipalities banned on-site consumption lounges.  Given that around half of the state’s municipalities have affirmatively chosen to disallow cannabis sales within their borders, what does this mean for municipalities and cannabis entrepreneurs trying to build businesses pursuant to the Cannabis Control Board’s (CCB) forthcoming license application process Opting Out First, let’s be clear about what opting out does and doesn’t mean. For municipalities, if a municipality has opted out that does not mean the use of cannabis by adults 21+ years old is prohibited.  On the contrary, all opt-out means is that a dispensary or consumption site cannot operate within the municipality’s borders.  Effective immediately upon the passage of the MRTA, adults 21+ were permitted to consume cannabis at their homes and anywhere in public that smoking tobacco is permitted (except in their cars), and may have…

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Source : Empire State Cannabis Update: Municipality Opt-Outs Are Final—What Now?

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