With the passage of Friday’s deadline for New York municipalities to opt-out of allowing marijuana retailers and consumption sites in their jurisdictions, hundreds of cities, towns, and villages across the state will allow cannabis businesses to operate. However, there are still a significant number of areas where cannabis commerce won’t be immediately permitted, with one list from the Rockefeller Institute counting 642 dispensary opt-outs and 733 consumption site opt-outs as of Sunday. But while the institute’s dashboard is regularly updated, it notes that it “does not represent real-time, official information on municipalities’ opt-out decisions.” Municipalities that don’t proactively move to ban the businesses on at least a temporary basis will default to an indefinite opt-in. To that end, it’s important to note that the numbers on opt-outs don’t necessarily reflect a local government’s position on marijuana legalization overall. As in New Jersey, where a majority of cities have initially chosen not to permit retailers following the reform implementation, some New York municipalities have simply decided to opt-out for now ahead of the deadline so that they have more time to prepare and craft local rules. “The big takeaway for me is how frequently the lack of state guidelines was cited by municipalities that chose to opt-out,” Heather Trela, who has tracked local cannabis decisions for the Rockefeller Institute, told Marijuana Moment. “Which potentially leaves the door open for some to opt-in in the future.” “We will continue to follow up with municipalities directly to hopefully get more info, especially from towns and villages that don’t have a website,” she said. It’s also the case that while dispensaries and social consumption sites can be locally banned in New York, other cannabis business license types are exempt from the opt-out option, including cultivators and delivery services.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 01/02/2022 10:16:00