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42% of New York Municipalities Ban Cannabis Retail

The deadline for New York municipalities to opt out of allowing cannabis business operations ended on December 31 with 642 towns, villages, and cities choosing to bar dispensaries and 733 opting out of consumption lounges, according to Rockefeller Institute of Government data. Some of the communities chose to opt out before the deadline in order to develop their own rules and regulations before opting back in since once a community opts in it cannot opt back out.

About 900 municipalities declined to make a “yes” or “no” decision by the deadline, which automatically opts them in – the state has more than 1,500 towns, villages, and cities. The opt-out rate for dispensary operations in the state is about 42% with the opt-out rate for on-site consumption at about 48%. Comparatively, the opt-out rate for the industry in neighboring New Jersey is about 70%.

The highest opt-out rate in the state is Putnam County where about 78% of communities chose to opt out of dispensaries with 88% rejecting on-site consumption.

The city council of Albany – the state capital – voted to opt into both dispensaries and on-site consumption, along with the capital region cities of Troy, Schenectady, and Saratoga Springs. The city councils of the vacation towns Lake George and Lake Placid have voted to opt out.

Many municipalities indicated they opted out due to lack of guidance from the New York Office of Cannabis Management and additional directives from the state could lead to reversals from those communities that have decided to implement a ban.

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