Which New York Towns Will Opt-In (or Out) of Marijuana Dispensaries?

Legal marijuana is coming to New York. But is it coming to a town near you?

The NY Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) has an opt-out clause for certain provisions. That means communities across the state have until December 31st, 2021, to decide if they’ll allow dispensaries and consumption lounges within their borders.

Some local officials have already made up their minds, saying cannabis isn’t welcome in their neighborhood. To date, over 100 municipalities in New York have opted out of adult-use dispensaries and cannabis cafes. Other officials are interested in the revenue streams legal cannabis promises to bring in, and many are still undecided.

So who’s opting in, who’s undecided, and who’s opting out of allowing dispensaries in their towns. More importantly, what do these decisions mean for New Yorkers?

What Opting-Out Means 

To be clear, New York communities cannot opt out of adult-use legalization as a whole. The MRTA only gives the option of opting out of certain types of cannabis licenses.

New York municipalities cannot ban:

  • Possession of cannabis
  • Cannabis consumption (where allowed)
  • Home growing
  • Delivery services
  • Production facilities
  • Medical marijuana

They can ban:

  • Adult-use dispensaries
  • Consumption lounges (sometimes called cannabis cafes)
  • Other businesses that allow for on-site consumption

What Opting-In Means

For municipalities that don’t opt-out, business licenses, including dispensaries, will be issued by the Cannabis Control Board once they have finalized the application process. Dispensaries, regardless of opting in, cannot be located within 500 feet of schools or within 200 feet of places of worship.

Should NY Towns Stay In or Opt-Out?

December 31st is drawing closer, and municipalities are feeling the pressure. Towns that have decided to allow dispensaries and cannabis cafes cite community support, projected tax revenue, and increased home values. Towns that have opted out of dispensaries cited unknowns in regulations, skepticism over the projected tax revenue, inability to test drivers, and the ability to opt-in later.

You can monitor which municipalities opt-out with this Google Map, created and updated by Cannabis Consultant Michael Doyle.

NY Towns Opting Out

As of this writing, the following New York municipalities have taken definitive action to opt-out of allowing dispensaries and consumption lounges.

Alexandria Bay

Champion

Freeport

Lowville

Orwell

Turin

Altamont

Chaumont

French Creek

Lumberland

Oswego (Town)

Union Springs

Ardsley

Chautauqua

Gerry

Lynbrook

Patchogue

Victory

Ashford

Chester

Goshen

Manlius (Village)

Pelham

Walden

Aurora (Village)

Clarendon

Great Neck Estates

Marathon (Village)

Pinckney

Walton

Avoca

Clayton (Town)

Great Neck Plaza

Marilla

Philadelphia

Waterloo

Babylon

Clayton (Village)

Hammond

Martinsburg

Plandome Heights

Watertown (City)

Bayville

Clymer

Harmony

Massapequa Park

Poland

Watertown (Town)

Bellport

Constableville

Harrisburg

Mexico (Town)

Putnam Valley

Watson

Bemus Point

Copenhagen

Hopkinton

Mexico (Village)

Rhinebeck (Town)

Williston Park

Black River

Cortlandville

Hounsfield

Middletown

Ridgeway

Willet

Bolton

Covert

Hyde Park

Minoa

Rockville Centre

Yorktown

Brightwaters

Crawford

Independence

Morehouse

Roslyn

 

Bronxville

Croghan

Island Park

Mount Kisco

Roslyn Estates

 

Brownville

Deferiet

Islip

Murray

Rye

 

Brutus

Denmark

Jerusalem

New Bremen

Shelter Island

 

Busti (Town)

Eastchester

Keene

New Hyde Park

Sherburne

 

Callicoon

East Rockaway

Kent

Niagara

Somers

 

Cape Vincent

Ellery

Kirkwood

Nissequogue

Southeast

 

Carmel Hamlet

Ellicott

Lake Pleasant

Northampton

Southampton (Village)

 

Carroll

Ellisburg

Lapeer

North Castle

Southport

 

Cassadaga

Farmingdale

Larchmont

North East

Springport

 

Castorland

Fayetteville

Lakewood

North Hills

Stony Point

 

Cazenovia (Town)

Floral Park

Lewisboro

North Salem

Suffern

 

Cazenovia (Village)

Flower Hill

Liverpool

Orangetown

Theresa

 

 



NY Towns Opting In

NY Towns Embracing the MRTA

The following municipalities have publicly stated they plan to opt in.

Binghamton

Geneva (Town)

New Paltz (Village)

Riverhead

Brookhaven

Glens Falls

New Rochelle

Saugerties

Buffalo

Hamilton

Orchard Park

Seneca Falls

Burke

Hannibal

Orleans

Watkins Glen

Cambridge

Hudson

Oswego (City)

White Creek

Chateaugay

Ithaca

Oyster Bay

Woodbury

Dunkirk

Irondequoit

Perth

Woodstock

East Syracuse

Jamestown

Plattsburgh

Yonkers

Ellicottville (Town)

Kingston

Poughkeepsie

 

Ellicottville (Village)

Newburgh

Queensbury

 

Geneva (City)

New Paltz (Town)

Rensselaer

 

 

NY Municipalities Still Undecided

Many towns and villages are still undecided. Some are leaving it up to public vote, while others have scheduled public meetings to address the question.

Towns Opting In for Dispensaries and Out for Cannabis Cafes

  • Amsterdam
  • Ballston Spa
  • Colonie
  • Croton-on-Hudson
  • Homer (Village)
  • Pine Plains
  • Tuxedo
  • Warwick (Town)

November Referendum

These towns are taking the issue of legalization to a referendum, allowing residents to cast their vote yes or no in the November election.

  • Amityville
  • Benson
  • Camillus
  • Cold Spring
  • Fishkill
  • Geddes
  • Homer (Town)
  • Lyme
  • McGraw (Village)

 

NY Towns Leaning Towards Opting-In

These towns have not made definitive statements but are expected to allow dispensaries and cannabis cafes.

  • Bethel
  • Canton
  • Canajoharie
  • Chestertown
  • Granville (Village)
  • Harrietstown
  • Johnson City
  • Lysander
  • North Syracuse
  • Penn Yan
  • Pomfret
  • Scotia
  • Syracuse
  • Thompson
  • Tupper Lake

 

NY Towns Leaning Towards Opting-Out

These towns have not taken definitive action but may opt out before the December 31st deadline.

  • Arietta
  • Atlantic Beach
  • Bedford Hills
  • Fayette
  • Hanover
  • Hempstead
  • Liberty
  • Mamaroneck
  • Medina
  • Old Brookville
  • Patterson
  • Pelham Manor
  • Portville
  • Quogue
  • Rockland
  • Silver Creek
  • Tusten
  • Warwick (Village)
  • Wellsville
  • West Seneca

 

What You Can Do Now to Support Dispensaries in NY

If your town is on the list of undecided or leaning towards opting-out, don’t lose hope!

Many elected officials cite lack of public support or negative public sentiment as the driving factor for opting out. Reach out to your elected officials, including the Mayor and Board Members, and let them know you support retail sales and consumption lounges in your community. These Boards can’t consider social media comments when making their decision, so it’s essential to reach out to them directly.

As a member of your community, your voice matters, so speak up! Email, call or visit your elected officials in person. You can also find out when public hearings are and attend to show your support.

If your municipality is holding a referendum in November, get out and vote! Every vote in your community matters, so make it a priority and let your friends and family know to do the same.

If your community has decided to opt-out, you can still voice your support for dispensaries because municipalities have the option of opting back in at any time. You can file a petition with your local government or create a citizen’s referendum.

 

What’s Next for Legalization in New York

The Cannabis Control Board (CCB) has been appointed and had its first public meeting. You can read our recap of the meeting in a recent article and find out what’s moving forward. The CCB is actively setting the rules and regulations for the industry, including zoning recommendations, criteria for licenses, the license application process, and product and packaging requirements. The CCB also decides who to issue licenses to, as well as the number of retail outlets per municipality.

Want to stay updated with all the latest New York hemp and cannabis regulations? visit Medical Mikes NY news page to stay in the know.


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