Westchester Weighs in on Weed

29% of Westchester County municipalities listed here allowing cannabis sales (Photo: Shutterstock).

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, signed into law last spring by former Governor Andrew Cuomo, legalizes the consumption and possession of marijuana for all residents over the age of 21. It also contains a provision allowing local governments to “opt out” of allowing either dispensaries (retail sales) or on-site consumption (smoking lounges) in their municipalities before the licensing of those businesses begins. Opt-out decisions had to be made by Dec. 31, 2021.  

For more on what went in to the decision-making process, read our recent article River Towns Weigh Pros, Cons of Marijuana Sales and Consumption

If a municipality has voted to “opt out” of either marijuana-based business (indicated by NO on the chart), it can opt in at any time. However, the decision to permit dispensaries and/or lounges (indicated by YES on the chart) cannot be reversed after Dec. 31, 2021. 

The chart from the Rockefeller Institute of Government — formally called “Marijuana Opt-Out Tracker” — can be viewed at rockinst.org.  (Chart data presented here as of Dec. 31, 2021.) 

It’s worth noting that the 29% of Westchester County municipalities listed here allowing cannabis sales compares with 59% of municipalities statewide that are permitting sales.  

Countywide, about 17% of municipalities are allowing consumption sites, compared with 54% of municipalities across New York State that have greenlighted marijuana lounges.

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