Twenty-four percent of New York municipalities, or 365 localities, have opted out of adult-use cannabis operations, NPR-affiliate WBFO reports. During Thursday’s meeting of the Cannabis Control Board, Chris Alexander, executive director of the state Office of Cannabis Management, said the figures “are relatively consistent with the experience of other states” that have legalized cannabis and he expects those numbers to “increase a bit” as the opt-out deadline of December 31 nears.
The Rockefeller Institute of Government, an independent think tank, has the opt-out rates slightly higher — reporting 462 municipalities have decided not to allow dispensaries and 523 opting out of on-site consumption businesses. Alexander told WBFO that the board “cannot speak to Rockefeller’s numbers.”
The Office of Cannabis Management said that just six cities — or about 10% — have opted out, along with 259 towns (28%), and 100 villages (19%).
Under the New York law, municipalities have until the end of the month to opt-out, otherwise, cannabis operations will be permanently allowed within their borders; however, municipalities can opt back in at any time.
“If a municipality could opt out at any time, it could have created instances where businesses received a license and set up operations in a municipality, only to find out that the municipality later voted to prohibit this activity. And so that was the justification for this order of operations.” — Alexander to WBFO
On Thursday, the agency also approved a resolution for the office to begin seeking long-term office space in Buffalo and New York City. The state’s legalization law requires that the Office of Cannabis Management have a main office in Albany and branch offices in Buffalo and New York City.
Adult-use sales are not expected to commence in the Empire State until at least the end of next year.
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