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Working collaboratively with local officials to investigate and stop illicit cannabis sales protects communities.


The New York State Office of Cannabis Management in collaboration with local governments are building a competitive cannabis market, built on principles of justice and access, to ensure broad economic and social prosperity across the state. These collaborative efforts foster greater levels of entrepreneurial innovation, quality consumer experiences, safer cannabis products, and broader educational outreach to keep our consumers safe and create a thriving market for the future of our communities.

The enforcement role of local governments will vary based on the locality, but all have options they may use to investigate and close illicit cannabis shops through a structured process aimed at enforcing regulatory compliance and maintaining public safety. Let’s be clear, in our communities, illicit cannabis sales risk public health and safety, impact reinvestment revenue, and threaten justice-involved entrepreneurs progress and success in the New York cannabis market.  





Here’s what you need to know:  
  • Municipalities and Licensee Operations:  
    • Municipalities may not issue local licenses to cannabis licensees.
    • All municipalities including counties are preempted from adopting any law, rule, ordinance, regulation, or prohibition pertaining to the operation or licensure of adult-use, medical or cannabinoid hemp licenses.
    • Towns, cities and villages are permitted to pass local laws and regulations governing the time, place and manner of adult-use retail dispensaries and on-site consumption licenses provided that the local law and regulations do not make the operation of the license unreasonably impracticable as determined by the Cannabis Control Board. For example, cities, towns, and villages are permitted to pass laws and regulations pertaining to local zoning and the location of licensees, hours of operations and adherence to local building codes.
    • Local municipalities may enact and enforce regulations relating to home cultivation of cannabis provided, but municipalities cannot completely ban or prohibit home cultivation.
    • County and city governments can adopt their own laws to regulate unlicensed cannabis businesses, including padlocking, emergency padlocking, OTS, and seizure powers, so long as their new local law meets the following requirements:     
      • Ensure consistent enforcement and procedures to conduct inspections, hearings, and padlocking businesses that mirror OCM’s  
      • Designate a point of contact to coordinate with OCM to report on enforcement activities  
      • Require hearings in City or County courts within 3 days of emergency padlocking and a court decision within 4 days after the hearing, for locations that were padlocked at first inspection due to imminent threat to health and safety  
    • County and city governments can initiate emergency proceedings with orders to cease illicit activity against both businesses and landlords using Section 16-a of the Cannabis Law, upon 10 days’ notice to OCM, with the option to collect penalties in those proceedings. 
  • Local Taxes and community Reinvestment: There is a local excise tax imposed on the sale of cannabis products from a retail dispensary to a cannabis consumer at 4% of the products price. This tax is distributed to local governments based on where the retail dispensary is located. 25% of the tax revenue goes to the county and 75% goes to the cities, town, or villages within the county as a proportion of cannabis sales. If a town and a village within the town both allow adult-use sales, the revenue shall be distributed based on agreed upon distribution agreement between the town and village. If no such agreement exists, then the revenue distribution between the town and village will be divided evenly. 

  • FY25 Budget and County Enforcement Powers: Governor Kathy Hochul recently unveiled new initiatives to shut down illicit cannabis operations and protect the legal marketplace as part of the FY25 Enacted Budget. The plan provides the Office of Cannabis Management and local municipalities with new authority to take action against illicit storefronts and those who enable them. The initiatives are the strongest set of policies enacted thus far to tackle the illicit cannabis marketplace. 

  • Municipality Opt-Out: Adult-use cannabis sales are prohibited in municipalities which previously passed a local law seeking to prohibit adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries and/or on-site consumption businesses before December 31, 2021. No retail dispensary licenses, or microbusiness licenses will be granted in those municipalities that prohibit adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries. While municipalities are no longer allowed to opt-out, any municipality that previously opted-out may opt back in by repealing the prior local law. Cannabis cultivation and cannabis processing licenses can still be granted in opt-out municipalities.




Municipal Notification

Pursuant to Section 76 of the Cannabis Law, not less than thirty days nor more than two hundred seventy days before filing an application for licensure as an adult-use retail dispensary or registered organization adult-use cultivator processor distributor retail dispensary or an on-site consumption licensee, an applicant shall notify the municipality in which the premises is located of such applicant's intent to file such an application.  

Applicants for a microbusiness authorized to conduct retail sales of cannabis products to consumers must also complete this notification in the same manner as an applicant for an adult-use retail dispensary license. This notification has to be made by:

  • certified mail, return receipt requested;

  • overnight delivery service with proof of mailing; or

  • personal service upon the offices of the clerk or community board 




Civil Proceedings

Request Permission to Bring and Maintain a Civil Proceeding

If you are a county attorney, corporation counsel, or local government seeking permission from the Office of Cannabis Management to bring and maintain a civil proceeding against an unlicensed cannabis business, or other unlicensed business location, that sells (directly or indirectly) cannabis, cannabis products, medical cannabis or cannabinoid hemp or hemp extract products within New York, you must submit a Civil Proceeding Request Form pursuant to Cannabis Law Section 16-a. The information is necessary for the Office of Cannabis Management to review your request to bring a civil proceeding.

Please Note: This form is only available for use by an official representative of a Local Municipal Government.




Local Municipal Opt-Out

Official Opt-Out List  

Adult-use cannabis possession and use by adults 21 years of age or older in accordance with the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA), is legal in New York State.  

Cities, towns, and villages had the option of passing local law to opt-out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses from locating within their jurisdictions by December 31, 2021 or nine months after the effective date of the legislation. If a municipality does not opt-out by December 31, 2021, the municipality will be unable to opt-out at a future date. However, a municipality may reverse their opt-out, to allow either, or both, adult-use retail dispensary or on-site consumption license types by repealing the local law which established the prohibition.

Note: All local laws passed by municipalities opting out of allowing adult-use retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses are subject to a permissive referendum as outlined in Section 24 OF the Municipal Home Rule Law. This creates a process allowing voters of the municipality to petition the outcome of a local law, which if successful, will trigger the question of whether or not to approve the local law, to be placed on the ballot at the next general election of state or local government officials for the municipality.

The opt-out list is updated periodically to reflect localities that had opted out prior to the deadline but had not submitted their opt-out law previously or localities opting-in.  

Last Updated 03/28/2024




Reporting an Incident

To make sure you are protecting your community from illicit cannabis sales and unregulated products:  

Report any issues with a cannabis business, cannabis product, and adverse events at the link below. All incident reports of potential illicit shops are investigated by the Office’s Enforcement Division. Here’s what you need to know:

  • An adult-use cannabis product’s packaging and labeling cannot be attractive to individuals under 21 and cannot make statements that are false or can mislead consumers. Check adult-use PLMA regulations or discover PLMA overview videos for more information.   
  • Legal shops will always feature the NYS Dispensary Verification Tool in the storefront and will link to the OCM dispensary verification list.
  • For any questions about enforcement or an incident report, email [email protected].