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Auburn City Council imposes six-month moratorium on new smoke shops

The Auburn City Council has imposed a six-month moratorium on new smoke shops in the city.

The council wants more time to update zoning regulations concerning where and how such shops will be allowed to operate. Auburn City Clerk Chuck Mason says there have been several new shops opening up in the city. He says many of the operators seem not to understand how highly regulated those businesses will be, especially those that want to sell cannabis products.

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The state’s Cannabis Control Board, formed when the state legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2021, has just begun to issue rulings concerning the cultivation, sale, and use of cannabis. Legal retail sales are expected to begin in New York later this year.

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The council resolution:

WHEREAS, on March 31, 2021, New York State signed into law the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which enacted the New York State Cannabis Law; and

WHEREAS, since then, the City of Auburn has observed a sharp increase in the volume of new businesses that sell smoke-related products (“smoke shops”), which has caused great concern among City residents; and

WHEREAS, the City anticipates a continued increase in the number of smoke shop businesses opening within the City as New York State draws closer to issuing licenses for the retail sales of marijuana; and

WHEREAS, the City has authority to determine the locations of smoke shops, as well as the time and manner of said operations; and

WHEREAS, the City would like to maintain the character and landscape of its community, while simultaneously encouraging the growth of businesses and compliance with the Cannabis Law; and

WHEREAS, the City is presently updating the City Code, Section 305, entitled Zoning, and believes that including new and amended code requirements regulating the establishment and operation of smoke shop businesses is necessary.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Auburn City Council does hereby impose a six (6) month moratorium upon the establishment and operation of new businesses within the City of Auburn, which intend to engage in the retail sale of smoking-related products, such as marijuana, in order to provide the City an opportunity to review and amend the City Code so that it can reasonably regulate the time, place and manner of such operations.

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Listen to my full Inside the FLX conversation with Auburn City Clerk Chuck Mason below.