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Posted on: August 25, 2021

Resident Feedback Requested on New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act

marijuana flower

Come to the Wednesday, September 1 or Wednesday, September 22 Town Board meeting to express your opinion on the decision of whether the Town of Mamaroneck should opt out or not from the sale and on-site consumption of cannabis in regard to the recent New York State cannabis legislation, Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA).

Background:

On March 31, 2021 Governor Cuomo signed into law New York’s Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (the “MRTA”), which was enacted with the purpose of creating a regulated and taxed cannabis industry in New York. While sale of adult-use cannabis is not expected until late 2022 or early 2023, the following provisions took effect immediately. Any individual 21 or older may:

(a) possess, display, purchase, obtain, or transport up to 3 ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis;

(b) transfer, without compensation, to another person 21 or older, up to 3 ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis;

(c) use, smoke, ingest, or consume cannabis or concentrated cannabis unless otherwise prohibited by state law;

(d) possess, use, display, purchase, obtain, manufacture, transport or give to any person 21 or older cannabis paraphernalia or concentrated cannabis paraphernalia;

Under the MRTA What Can Local Municipalities Control?

Local municipalities have been granted little control under the MRTA. Essentially municipalities have two options:

  • Ban retail dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments within their jurisdictions by opting out of the MRTA
  • Set parameters in which these types of business could function within their boundaries. If such establishments are allowed within a municipality, a municipality may pass regulations governing the time, place and manner of the operation, as long they do not make the operation of such licensed retail dispensaries or on‐site consumption sites unreasonably impracticable. Municipalities will receive 75% of the local excise tax related to the sale of cannabis in the municipality.

What Does it Mean for a Municipality to “Opt-Out”?

• Local municipalities have the right to opt-out of the MRTA, which means that retail dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments may not be established within their boundaries. In order to opt-out, a municipality must pass a local law to that effect prior to December 31, 2021.

• If a municipality opt-outs of the MRTA, it still has the ability to opt back in at a later date.

• If a municipality does not opt out before the December 31, 2021 deadline, then the municipality does not have the ability to opt-out in the future and is required to allow licensed retail dispensaries and on-site consumption establishments indefinitely.

What Restrictions does the MRTA Impose and What are the Benefits to Municipalities?

• The MRTA calls for the creation of a Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management that would function in a similar manner to the New York State Liquor Authority. These agencies would set the rules for operation and permitting requirements for cannabis related establishments.

• These two agencies do not have members appointed yet. It will take time before they will be able to promulgate rules or regulations. As a result, it is expected that cannabis related establishments will not be operational until late 2022 or early 2023.

• A local excise tax will be imposed on the sale of cannabis products by a retail dispensary. The tax will be 4% of the product’s price. This tax is distributed to local governments based on where the retail dispensary is located. The municipality in which the sale takes place will receive 75% of the taxes collected and the County government will receive the remaining 25%.  

Where is the Town of Mamaroneck in the decision making process?

• The Town Board has not made a decision yet. Before making the decision, we want to hear from residents of the Town about what they think and feel about the sale of cannabis. Please come to the September Town Board meetings (Wednesday, September 1 or Wednesday, September 22) to share your feedback during the Citizen Comments portion of the Town Board meeting at 8:00 pm in the Town Center Court Room. 

• Residents may also provide feedback directly to Nancy Seligson, Town Supervisor, via email at supervisor@townofmamaroneckny.org . All email submissions should be submitted by close of business Wednesday, September 22.

More information regarding the MRTA can be found on the Office of Cannabis Management’s website.

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