CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The deadline has passed for municipalities in New York State to opt out of recreational marijuana sales and consumption. Over 600 have said no to dispensaries, and over 700 say they will not allow consumption sites as of now.
Rensselaer Mayor Mike Stammel said his city has not opted out of either opportunity, and he is excited about the economic growth recreational marijuana will bring.
“We are a city that doesn’t have a lot of economic type business that fosters a lot of taxes for us, so something like that probably would,” he explained, “especially a growing facility.”
In August the city council approved for a former storage facility to be a marijuana cultivation and manufacturing plant. While the city hasn’t opted out of consumption sites, Stammel believes focusing on growing is more important. Now, he is waiting for the state to get the ball rolling more quickly on opening up the market.
Heather Trela from the Rockefeller Institute of Government has been working on a database that keeps track of which municipalities across the state are opting out. For those choosing “no,” Trela believes more information from the state might change their minds to opt in at a later date.
“The number one concern with dispensaries has been lack of guidance from the state. The fact that they don’t have the regulations out as to how licensing will be done,” Trela said. “There are some general rules but there’s just not enough there, so a lot of municipalities have said they are opting out for now.”
Kaelan Castetter of Castetter Cannabis Group anticipates draft regulations will come from the state’s Office of Cannabis Management by the end of the quarter.
“What we will see in the regulations from the OCM is how much product can be sold to one customer at a time, how much they can consume the type of products that can be sold, maybe some marketing restrictions,” Castetter told NEWS10. “So we’ll have a clearer picture as to what these consumption sites will look like.”
A number of villages, towns and cities, including the city of Albany, were automatically opted in after not taking a specific action one way or another before December 31.