Marijuana is now legal in New York. But will it be available for purchase in Westchester?

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Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo legalized adult-use marijuana in New York State through the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA). While it will become legal to grow, produce, distribute and sell cannabis within the state, it’s not likely to be sold widely throughout Westchester County, according to North Salem Town Supervisor Warren Lucas.

“As the President of the Westchester Supervisors Association I can tell you that none of the towns in Westchester want to allow marijuana sales,” said Lucas.

While municipalities cannot opt out of adult-use legalization, they may opt out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses by passing a local law by December 31, 2021. Lucas said that North Salem town officials will discuss the opt-out requirements at their next meeting.

If the town board opts out, residents may still have a say in the matter. “If sufficient people get a petition together, they can call for a referendum which would put it on the general election as a town-wide resolution,” Lucas said.

New York State Senator Pete Harckham, who represents New York’s 40th District for the New York Senate, voted in favor of the bill and described it as “the most thoughtful bill of its kind in the nation.”

“With proper safeguards in place, and an opportunity to correct injustices while strengthening our communities, this bill is the right thing to do,” Harckham said in a press release.

New York is now the sixteenth state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize marijuana. A new Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board will develop and oversee new regulations.

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