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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

New York will double the number of retail cannabis licenses

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New York regulators announced this week that the state will double the number of retail cannabis licenses, bringing the total number of conditional adult retail dispensary (CAURD) licenses for recreational marijuana dispensaries to 300 instead of the 150 originally planned. The new licenses, which will be selected from an existing pool of qualified business applicants, will be issued proportionately across New York, doubling the number of licenses in each of the state’s 14 regions.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management announced that the increased number of licenses “will further strengthen New York State’s Seeding Opportunities initiative, which mandates the operation of the state’s first legal retail dispensaries for adult use by those most affected by cannabis prohibition or Nonprofit organizations whose services include support for the formerly imprisoned.

“With this expansion, more entrepreneurs will be able to participate in the first wave of this industry, allowing them to take advantage of the growing demand for cannabis products,” said Tremaine Wright, Chairman of the Cannabis Control Council. “As more companies enter this market, innovation and competition will increase, leading to better quality experiences for consumers. The expansion of the New York cannabis market will benefit all participants in this exciting industry.”

New York Office of Cannabis Administration (OCMreceived about 900 applications for CAURD licenses from potential business owners. To date, the Cannabis Control Council CAURD issued 66 temporary licenseswith the Opening of the first store in late December. In April, OCM will make recommendations to the Board on the majority of remaining applications in areas of the state not affected by a court order issued in November Preventing the agency from granting retail dispensary licenses in five regions of the state.

$200 million fund to support New York licensees

The CAURD program, which provides licenses to individuals concerned with justice, initially allowed up to 150 companies to obtain a provisional CAURD license. This effort has been bolstered by the creation of the New York State Cannabis Social Equity Fund, a $200 million public-private partnership that provides refurbished, ready-to-open retail locations to 150 licensees. OCM described the fund as the first effort of its kind in the country designed to help reduce barriers independent entrepreneurs face in raising capital to start a business in the cannabis industry.

“Doubling the number of licenses available for adult police use will help jump-start the growth of the New York cannabis industry,” said Damien Fagon, chief equity officer at OCM. “More stores mean more locations for New York farmers to sell their crops, more convenience for New York customers to make the right decisions and buy safer and more legal products, and double the opportunities for New Yorkers hurt by over-policing during the cannabis ban.”

In December, OCM announced that it would also allow CAURD licensees to secure their own business locations without seeking support from the Social Equity Fund, potentially freeing up resources for some of the newly authorized CAURD licensees announced today. The initial 150 CAURD-certified licensees will be given priority to receive resources if they choose a CAURD-supported site. Applicants selected for the additional 150 CAURD licenses announced this week will be given access to any remaining funding resources.

“New York is doing something special when it comes to jump-starting our cannabis industry, and now we’re doubling down on the impact of our adult-use conditional retail dispensary program,” said Chris Alexander, executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management. “It has been really exciting to see the positive energy around our efforts to support entrepreneurs who have previously suffered at the hands of New York State. We will continue to create real opportunities for qualified applicants who have been shut out of legal cannabis markets across the country.”

Thursday’s announcement provides new opportunities for entrepreneurs eager to enter New York’s cannabis industry, said Michelle Boudian, partner at legal cannabis and drug firm Vicente LLP.

Bodian wrote in an email to: High times. “As only a limited number of licenses have been awarded so far, this expansion provides a huge upfront advantage for the approximately 230 remaining licenses to be awarded.”

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