The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (“MRTA”) provides towns, villages, and cities an opportunity to opt out of allowing retail dispensaries and on-site consumption licensees to operate within the municipality’s jurisdiction. To do so, the town, village, or city legislative body must adopt a local law by December 31, 2021, subject to a permissive referendum governed by Municipal Home Rule Law (“MHRL”) §24, requesting that the Cannabis Control Board (“CCB”) prohibit the establishment of on-site consumption sites and/or retail dispensaries within the municipality.
MHRL § 24 details a specific process governing permissive referendums depending on which type of municipal entity (i.e. town, city or village) is adopting the local law. With respect to a town or city, MHRL § 24 provides that the proposed local law takes effect 45 days after its adoption unless a valid petition requesting a permissive referendum is filed with the clerk within that 45-day period. In other words, the local law opting out of allowing retail dispensaries and/or on-site consumption licenses takes effect 45 days after adoption without a referendum unless a valid petition for a referendum is filed according to MHRL § 24. Town boards should take note that the permissive referendum procedures under MHRL