Many Local Municipalities Opt Out On Pot Sales

A marijuana plant is grown under lights at the Boulder County Caregivers in Boulder, Colo. AP photo

A look at a map shows that the majority of Chautauqua County’s municipalities have opted out of allowing marijuana dispensaries and lounges. However, the ones with the largest populations opted in.

Cannasigliere, LLC, and its founder, Mike Doyle, operate a map overlay for Google Maps that shows the cannabis status for every municipality in the state. Cannasigliere is a Rochester consulting firm “that specializes in providing individuals and groups across the state with the know-how to approach post-prohibition opportunities,” according to Doyle’s LinkedIn profile.

The map is updated daily. Last week, it showed that in Chautauqua County, the towns of Arkwright, Dunkirk and Pomfret, along with the villages of Fredonia and Sherman and the cities of Dunkirk and Jamestown, all have “opted in” to the state’s plan to allow marijuana dispensaries and smoking lounges. All other municipalities in the county chose to opt out.

Across the state, 303 municipalities opted in, according to the map legend. A total of 637 municipalities have opted out.

“Opting in” means the municipalities either passed resolutions affirming interest in the marijuana sale sites, or simply have not signaled to the state that they do not want them. Also, it does not necessarily mean that the state’s new Office of Cannabis Management will decide to place them there.

Municipalities that do not want state-backed marijuana sales have to opt out by Dec. 31. A municipality that opts out this year can always opt in at a later time.

The village of Angola, just inside Erie County, took another option that has not been done in Chautauqua County. Their village board voted to tell the state that they are open to dispensaries that sell for home use only, and do not want the on-site cannabis consumption lounges.

The map shows that 82 municipalities across the state took the route that Angola did.

There is a notable blank area on the map: the Cattaraugus Reservation of the Seneca Nation.

A drive through the reservation makes it clear that the Seneca is not waiting for the state’s licensing process, which could delay the opening of pot shops until as long as mid-2023. In keeping with their tradition of bucking Albany’s wishes on gasoline and tobacco sales, the Seneca have allowed several marijuana dispensaries to open.

Of course, as a federally recognized sovereign entity, the Seneca do not have to listen to Albany. A recent question from a confused out-of-state traveler at one dispensary was met with the reply, “You’re not in New York, you’re in the Seneca Nation.”

There are currently at least four sites that sell marijuana within half a mile or so of the traffic circle next to the bridge over Cattaraugus Creek that leads into Chautauqua County.


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