Which counties just say “no” to marijuana?

Certain New York counties are set on preventing the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Certain New York counties are set on preventing the legalization of recreational marijuana.
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Certain New York counties are set on preventing the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Which counties just say “no” to marijuana?

Even if New York legalizes it, some local governments could block sales.
April 2, 2019

As soon as Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he wanted to allow counties and larger municipalities to opt out of recreational marijuana sales, local lawmakers began weighing the best course of action for their constituents.

Some took swift action, like North Hempstead on Long Island, which has already passed legislation officially banning the sale of recreational marijuana. Other localities and counties are taking time to examine the issue before coming to a final decision. Here is where different counties stand on the prospect of opting out.

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Albany County – Officials remain undecided but are being proactive about gaining information on potential ramifications to legalization.

Broome County – County Executive Jason Garnar said he is not considering an opt-out so the county receives the tax revenue.

Chautauqua County – County Executive George Borrello said the county will consider opting out, but is waiting until legislation is passed to review the specifics of the law.

Chemung County – County Executive Christopher Moss said he would recommend that the county opt out, but it remains unknown where the county Legislature will land on the issue.

Dutchess County – County Executive Marc Molinaro, who hopes the state slows down with legalization talks, said he has not considered opting out.

Erie County – County Executive Mark Poloncarz has not yet made a decision, but the county is examining the possibility.

Genesee County – The county Legislature plans to examine the issue, but has not reviewed the proposal yet.

Monroe County – County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo has not yet made a decision about opting out. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has said the city would not opt out, but will likely be forced to if the county as a whole decides to ban marijuana sales.

Nassau County – County Executive Laura Curran said she opposes sales in Nassau County and a county legislator has introduced legislation to do so.

New York City – It appears that Mayor Bill de Blasio has not made any public comments on the matter, and the city is not expected to opt out.

Niagara County – The county Legislature appointed a committee to study the prospect of opting out, but has not yet come to a conclusion.

Onondaga County – Unknown (includes Syracuse).

Putnam County – County Executive MaryEllen Odell said the county would opt out.

Rensselaer County – County Executive Steve McLaughlin remains undecided and hopes that neighboring counties will make a joint regional decision.

Rockland County – County Executive Ed Day said that he opposes sales in the county and will ask the county Legislature to opt out, although it remains unknown where the Democratic Legislature lands on the issue.

Saratoga County – Officials remain undecided.

Schenectady County – Officials remain undecided.

Suffolk County – County Executive Steven Bellone has proposed legislation that would allow the county to opt out of sales for at least one year.

Ulster County – County Legislature Chairwoman Tracey Bartels predicted that Ulster County would not ban recreational marijuana sales.

Westchester County – County Executive George Latimer said the county is considering its options and prefers to wait until legislation is passed, but added that public opinion is split “darn near 50-50.

Rebecca C. Lewis
is a staff reporter at City & State.
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