Long Island does seem to have a predilection for opt out.
Now that we’re past the Dec. 31 deadline for jurisdictions to pass a local law stating they will not permit marijuana retail and commercial consumption sites, it’s clear that lots of the region’s cities, towns and villages leapt at the chance.
A new list of filings from the state Office of Cannabis Management shows a high rate of opt-out in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Analysis of the database and calls to local supervisors and mayors shows that both the cities of Glen Cove and Long Beach opted out, as well as Nassau County’s three towns: Hempstead, North Hempstead, Oyster Bay. In Suffolk, East Hampton, Huntington, Islip, Shelter Island, Smithtown and Southold passed on pot.
Southold and Long Beach were not included in the database, despite opting out in December not long before the deadline. OCM spokesman Freeman Klopott told The Point that the office’s list is a "living document" based on what is filed with the office.
OCM’s list of opt-out villages is not fully complete, either — Kensington, Baxter Estates, and Cove Neck are just some of the missing jurisdictions among the Island’s crowded patchwork, but even the incomplete filing shows more than 45 Long Island villages opting out.
A more comprehensive database is available from the Rockefeller Institute of Government, drawing from media clips and other sources, showing the vast number of Long Island villages that have said no. And we mapped Long Island’s town and city opt-outs here.
There is a lot up in the air, and caveats abound, even after the Dec. 31 deadline put in place by the state’s landmark Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act of 2021. First, places can’t "opt out" from legalizing possession. And jurisdictions that decided to opt out on the sales side can decide to flip and "opt in."
Those that are "in" can still pass zoning restrictions on cannabis, which the town of Brookhaven did last year. And villages can opt out even if the larger town doesn’t — as happened in Patchogue, despite Brookhaven’s yes.
And we’re not quite ready for Amsterdam on the Peconic. The next step toward being able to buy or consume weed at your local shop is the release of regulations from the state cannabis office — which is expected sometime this winter or early spring, Klopott said.