ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A new report by Leafly shows that municipalities opting out of cannabis sales may create unintended consequences. In the Capital Region, almost 100 municipalities have opted out of on-site consumption, retail dispensaries, or both.

Leafly’s report, developed in partnership with Whitney Economics, reveals that there could be adverse consequences of opting out and explores why local regulation is the right way to handle cannabis. According to the report, municipalities opting out of cannabis sales effectively create an economic protection zone for illegal street sellers to continue business.

“This report demonstrates that legal, regulated cannabis stores put illicit marijuana dealers out of business,” said Bruce Barcott, the report’s lead author and Leafly’s Senior Editor. “Fears surrounding local cannabis stores may prompt elected officials to prohibit cannabis companies in their towns. But adults in every community already purchase and enjoy cannabis, legal or not. The cities and counties that skip out on cannabis are essentially voting to keep their local illegal marijuana markets in business.”

The report found that when municipalities opt out, they also indirectly encourage adult consumers to purchase illegal products, put public health at risk by allowing the circulation of untested products, allow illegal sales to local teens, and turn away local jobs and tax revenue.

“Access and taxes, those are the keys to customer migration to the legal market,” said co-author Beau Whitney, founder of Whitney Economics. “And right now we’re seeing illegal cannabis sales propped up by opt-out cities and counties.”

Methodology

For this report, the percentage of cannabis sales captured by the legal market was found by comparing each legal state’s annual cannabis sales with that state’s Total Market Estimation, the value of total cannabis sales in a calendar year. In this report, TME is based on a Whitney Economics model that presumes about one-third of the adult population has consumed cannabis at least once in the past year.

You can read the full report on the Leafly website.

Capital Region opt-out municipalities

According to New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), cities, towns, and villages had until the end of 2021 to opt out and are unable to opt out going forward if they did not decide. Any municipality that did not specifically opt out automatically opted in. Municipalities that opted out will still be able to reverse their decision or opt in later.

These are the municipalities in the Capital Region that opted out of on-site consumption sites, retail dispensaries, or both. If a city, town, or village is not on this list, they opted into both on-site consumption sites and retail dispensaries. OCM last updated this list on September 9.

Albany County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
AltamontNoNo
BethlehemNoNo
CoeymansYesNo
Colonie (Town)YesNo
Green IslandYesNo
GuilderlandYesNo
MenandsYesNo
RavenaYesNo
RensselaervilleNoNo
VoorheesvilleNoNo
WatervlietYesNo
WesterloNoNo

Columbia County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
AncramYesNo
CanaanYesNo
Chatham (Town)YesNo
Chatham (Village)YesNo
ClaverackYesNo
ClermontNoNo
CopakeYesNo
GreenportYesNo
Kinderhook (Village)YesNo
LivingstonNoNo
ValatieYesNo

Fulton County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
BleeckerNoNo
BroadalbinYesNo
NorthamptonNoNo

Greene County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
AshlandNoNo
CairoNoNo
Catskill (Town)YesNo
DurhamNoNo
GreenvilleNoNo
HalcottNoNo
Hunter (Town)NoNo
JewettNoNo
LexingtonYesNo
New BaltimoreNoNo
PrattsvilleNoNo
WindhamNoNo

Montgomery County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
Amsterdam (Town)YesNo
Fort PlainNoNo
FultonvilleNoNo
GlenNoNo

Rensselaer County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
BerlinNoNo
BrunswickYesNo
East GreenbushYesNo
HoosickYesNo
Nassau (Town)YesNo
Nassau (Village)YesNo
North GreenbushYesNo
Sand LakeNoNo
SchodackYesNo
Valley FallsNoNo

Saratoga County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
BallstonYesNo
CharltonNoNo
Clifton ParkNoNo
EdinburgNoNo
Galway (Town)NoNo
Galway (Village)NoNo
HalfmoonYesNo
MaltaNoNo
MechanicvilleYesNo
MiltonYesNo
MoreauNoNo
NorthumberlandNoNo
ProvidenceNoNo
Saratoga (Town)YesNo
Stillwater (Village)YesNo
VictoryNoNo
WaterfordNoNo
WiltonNoNo

Schenectady County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
GlenvilleNoNo
NiskayunaNoNo
PrincetownNoNo

Schoharie County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
Cobleskill (Village)YesNo
FultonNoNo
JeffersonNoNo
Middleburgh (Village)YesNo
Richmondville (Village)YesNo
Richmondville (Town)NoNo
SharonNoNo
SummitNoNo

Ulster County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
EsopusNoNo
GardinerYesNo
Kingston (Town)YesNo
PlattekillNoNo
SaugertiesNoNo
ShawangunkNoNo
UlsterYesNo
WawarsingNoNo

Warren County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
BoltonNoNo
ChesterNoNo
HoriconNoNo
Lake George (Town)NoNo
Lake George (Village)NoNo
Stony CreekNoNo

Washington County

MunicipalityDispensariesConsumption sites
Fort EdwardYesNo
GranvilleNoNo
GreenwichNoNo
HamptonYesNo
KingsburyNoNo