Twenty-eight businesses across the state can start selling recreational marijuana after state regulators Monday approved New York's first retail licenses for cannabis dispensaries to meet a goal for the first sales by the end of the year.
Members of the Cannabis Control Board approved licenses under the state Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary license program for 28 people and eight licenses for nonprofit organizations at Monday's meeting in New York City.
“Today is a monumental day for New York’s nascent cannabis industry," Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said. "With the first adult-use retail dispensary licenses in the hands of businesses and eligible nonprofits, we’ve ensured the first sales will be made at dispensaries operated by those impacted by the unjust enforcement of cannabis prohibition. This is just the start, we will continue to work to build an industry that is open to anyone who wants to participate."
The state's Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act legalizing recreational marijuana sales for adults ages 21 and over was signed into law in March 2021.
The list of the state's first approved recreational marijuana dispensaries and available descriptions is below from the Office of Cannabis Management:
The licenses to be awarded through the CAURD program are prioritized for business owners with a cannabis conviction or who have a family member with a previous conviction. The 150 business owners and 25 nonprofit organizations granted a CAURD license will receive support from a $220 million Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund.
License applications will be sent to the board for consideration on a rolling basis in the future, according to OCM.
"The licensing of 36 CAURD applicants was long-awaited and now New York’s cannabis farmers and processors can finally start preparing products for sale at these soon-to-be-established stores," New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association president and founder Allan Gandelman said in a statement. "It’s exciting to see a full supply chain established and we’re looking forward to kicking off legal sales soon. This has been years in the making and we appreciate Gov. Hochul, the legislative leadership and the OCM and CCB for making this happen."
The board Monday also voted to approve additional regulations for the adult-use marijuana sales and regulations about packaging that will be open for public comment for 60 days. Email comments to email@example.com
Gov. Kathy Hochul's Seeding Opportunity Initiative will stock the state's first marijuana dispensaries with cannabis products grown by New York farmers.
Nonprofit organizations were eligible for the program if they had a history of serving current or formerly incarcerated individuals, including creating vocational opportunities for them; have at least one justice involved board member; at least five full time employees; and have operated a social enterprise that had net assets or profit for at least two years.
Black New Yorkers have been 15 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than white New Yorkers, and eight times more likely for Latinos, over the last three decades, according to OCM.
"I'm thrilled that we've approved the first adult-use retail licenses as part of the Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which sets our industry off on the right foot – with equity, justice, and sustainability at the forefront,” Cannabis Control Board member Jen Metzger said. “These entrepreneurs will be selling sun-grown cannabis cultivated with a minimal carbon footprint, and we must continue to ensure that New York's industry remains on an equitable and climate-conscious path well into the future.”