The deadline for New York’s municipalities to ban cannabis retail stores or consumption lounges expired on December 31, 2021.  According to the data released by New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), 10% of cities and 34% of all municipalities have opt-ed out of all cannabis sales (roughly 600 municipalities responded opting-out of one or both license types).   The OCM has published the raw data here.  (Note, according to The Rockefeller Institute of Government (which is not the official information), about 768 municipalities opted-out of dispensaries and 876 opted-out of consumption lounges (the Institute has published a searchable database here)).

Opting-out does not necessarily mean that the municipality is permanently banning these operations.  Once a town opts-out, it can elect to opt-in in the future.  Some chose to opt-out before the December 31, 2021 deadline in order to develop their own rules and regulations before opting back in.

It appears many municipalities opted out citing lack of guidance from the New York Office of Cannabis Management and are awaiting additional directives from the state, which could lead to reversals from those communities.

If you are interested in opening an adult-use marijuana retail dispensary or an on-site marijuana consumption lounge, it is best to check the opt-out list before doing your location scouting as a threshold task in your pursuit of a license (note, despite finding a non-banning municipality, a desired location is still subject to community-board approval, zoning laws, and, of course, OCM approval).

If you are interested in starting a cannabis business, please contact us or call (212) 688-8944 to discuss your interests and explore your options. We can discuss some of the legal issues and compliance required to help prepare your business for success in the cannabis space.

**This post is for informational purposes only, For legal advice, contact a Canna Business Lawyer**

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