NY: Two Rockland Towns Take Steps To Make Cannabis Dispensaries & Lounges Illegal

At least two of Rockland County’s five towns are taking steps to opt out of the recently-passed New York State law that allows the operation of marijuana retail dispensaries and cannabis lounges. Towns must pass laws before the Dec. 31 deadline kicks in.

Both the Town of Orangetown and the Town of Stony Point on Tuesday set public hearing dates on passing opt-out laws within the next few weeks.

Any local law restricting cannabis sales is subject to a permissive referendum, if initiated by voters.

“Stony Point is a small, family-oriented town and we want to preserve the small-town character,” said Town Supervisor Jim Monaghan. “We don’t think it’s something our residents want in town. We think it sends the wrong message to young people.”

Stony Point also set a public hearing for a law to ban smoking and vaping on town property and in the town’s parks. Monaghan said there is full support from the town board for the bans.

In April, New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. The new law allows the use, possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis – although cities, towns and villages can opt out of some aspects of the legislation. Jurisdictions that choose to opt out can’t prohibit the use, possession, or personal cultivation of the drug – they are only permitted to restrict the retail portion of the market, meaning dispensaries and on-site consumption sites.

Possession and use of cannabis is legal statewide but retail sales are not expected to begin until next year. State regulators still need to write the rules for how marijuana can be legally sold.

New York State collects sales tax on cannabis retail sales, and pays that money to counties, which keep 25 percent, and distributes the remaining 75 percent only to towns and villages in the county that have retail dispensaries.

But cities, towns, and villages that want to opt-out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses must pass a local law by December 31, 2021, or nine months after the effective date of the legislation. However, municipalities do not have the power to overturn other provisions of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, such as legalizing the possession and personal cultivation of cannabis.

“An adult can smoke at home, that’s their decision,” said Monaghan. “But we’re not looking to have dispensaries and lounges in Stony Point because we don’t think that’s something we need.”

Read more at  https://rcbizjournal.com/2021/06/08/two-rockland-towns-take-steps-to-make-cannabis-dispensaries-lounges-illegal/

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