New York’s Office of Cannabis Management said Thursday that it will begin accepting applications for adult-use cannabis retail licenses later this month.
Would-be dispensary owners will be able to submit their applications beginning on August 25. The application is scheduled to close on September 26.
In the announcement on Thursday, the agency reminded applicants that “New York’s first legal adult-use retail dispensaries will be operated by those most impacted by the enforcement of the prohibition of cannabis, who will make the first sales of adult-use cannabis in New York with products grown by New York farmers,” a key tenet of the state’s “Seeding Opportunity Initiative” that was unveiled earlier this year.
“Today’s announcement brings us to the precipice of legal, licensed cannabis sales in New York State,” Tremaine Wright, chair of the state Cannabis Control Board, said in a statement on Thursday. “With the Seeding Opportunity Initiative, New York has affirmed our commitment to making sure the first sales are conducted by those harmed by prohibition. We’re writing a new playbook for what an equitable launch of a cannabis industry looks like, and hope future states follow our lead.”
The board said that prospective applicants must meet the following qualifications in order to receive a dispensary license: “have a marijuana-related offense conviction that occurred prior to the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA) on March 31, 2021, or have had a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or dependent with a pre-MRTA marijuana-related offense conviction in the State of New York”; and “have experience owning and operating a qualifying business.”
“In just two weeks my team will start accepting applications for adult-use retail cannabis dispensaries. This is a monumental step in establishing the most equitable, diverse, and accessible cannabis industry in the nation,” Chris Alexander, executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management, said on Thursday. “We’ve worked to make this application as simple as possible for all interested applicants, and I cannot emphasize it enough that you do not need any legal expertise to fill this application out.”
New York legalized recreational cannabis for adults last year, when then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law. The state’s first recreational marijuana crop was planted in the spring, and the first dispensaries have been slated to open at some point before the end of the year.
“New York’s farms have been the backbone of our state’s economy since before the American Revolution, and now, New York’s farms will be at the center of the most equitable cannabis industry in the nation,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in April after the state approved the first 50 cultivation licenses. “I’m proud to announce the first adult-use cannabis cultivation licenses in the state, and I’m proud of the work the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board are doing to get adult-use cannabis sales up and running as fast as possible without compromising our mission to uplift communities and individuals most impacted by the past century of cannabis prohibition.”
Since taking over for Cuomo, who resigned last summer amid allegations of sexual misconduct, Hochul has prioritized getting the state’s recreational cannabis market up and running.
Last month, Hochul announced a $5 million grant in support of cannabis industry job training programs at New York community colleges.
“New York’s new cannabis industry is creating exciting opportunities, and we will ensure that New Yorkers who want careers in this growing sector have the quality training they need to be successful,” Hochul said at the time. “Diversity and inclusion are what makes New York’s workforce a competitive, powerful asset, and we will continue to take concrete steps to help ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate in the cannabis industry.”