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Legal cannabis in Rochester

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was signed into law on March 31, 2021 legalizing adult use of cannabis in the State of New York.

Under this State law it is legal for adults 21 years of age and older statewide to obtain and possess cannabis for personal use.  Smoking cannabis in public places is permitted anywhere cigarettes may be smoked, except in vehicles while on a public street, which includes street parking and most parking lots and garages.

The City of Rochester “opted in” to allow licensed adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries, microbusinesses, and consumption lounges to be situated within the City limits subject to various zoning and “time, place, and manner” restrictions. The City reviews all proposed adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries and microbusiness applicants that are submitted to the state. Based on very specific criteria the City is permitted to object to a proposed license to the Cannabis Control Board.

  • The City's zoning and regulations for cannabis dispensaries and on-site consumption lounges were approved at City Council Committee on November 3, 2021. You can find the approved legislation here. The City Council transmittal is here and supplemental resources are here
  • City Council convened a Work Session on August 18, 2022, to discuss proposed zoning and regulations for dispensaries and on-site consumption lounges. Watch the recording of the Work Session here>>
  • The City held three community meetings to discuss ideas for zoning and local regulation of cannabis businesses on May 25 (Arnett Library), May 31 (Gantt R-Center) and June 2, 2022 (virtual). Watch the recording of the June 2 meeting here>> You can find the slide deck from that meeting here >>

There are only a few licensed adult–use cannabis retail dispensaries throughout NYS that are permitted to sell cannabis at this time. When cannabis is purchased from unlicensed dispensaries, there are no safety controls over the products.

For more information, click here.

For any emergency, call 911.

To report a concern about a dispensary (legal or not), sales to minors, mislabeling, or an adverse health event related to cannabis use, call the Office of Cannabis Management at 1-888-626-5151. Additionally, we encourage the reporting of illegal cannabis retail dispensaries through the NSC Service Centers. All licensed dispensaries are issued a Dispensary Verification Tool which is posted in the storefront. Scan the QR code to be directed to OCM's website with a list of all licensed adult-use cannabis dispensaries or, click here.

For additional educational information regarding legal cannabis you can refer to the links below that can be also found on the OCM website, Office of Cannabis Management | Office of Cannabis Management (

For information about establishing a legal dispensary in the City of Rochester or as an additional means to report an illegal dispensary please email Sade McCallan at You can also refer to the Rochester Public Library for cannabis support and resources at the Central Library. Click here to learn more about cannabis programs and resources that are available to the public.

For information regarding laws related to the use of cannabis, please contact 311 (or 585-428-5990) and ask for a Public Safety Aide.