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Towns considering marijuana opt out laws will face revenue losses, economic competition if they change their minds in the future

Local elected officials in parts of the Finger Lakes and Central New York who are concerned with New York’s recreational marijuana legalization law are thinking hard about opting out.

As part of the marijuana legalization package signed into law, individual municipalities have the right to opt out of certain components of it. Essentially, municipalities can use zoning to prevent cannabis businesses from opening up or setting up shop in their community.

A bunch of smaller, rural communities have opted out across the region.

Communities have until December 31 to opt out. That’s part of the state’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. They will not be able to opt out after that deadline.

It’s become a major sticking point for some communities still mulling over options.

“The key is if you don’t opt out, you never can. And if it’s a failure, then you’re in trouble,” Sennett Supervisor Tom Gray told The Citizen.

The community there is seeing a changeover in Town leadership, and has scheduled a public hearing for December 16 to discuss the matter at greater length.

Communities that opt out can opt back in at any time. However, those who do not opt out cannot opt out later.