The Cannabis Control Board and the Office of Cannabis Management have announced that they will double the number of Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary Licenses to be issued from the originally planned 150 licenses to 300 licenses. This move aims to enable more highly qualified individuals to open cannabis dispensaries, as well as advance New York State’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative.
The initiative aims to provide opportunities for the state’s first legal adult-use retail dispensaries to be operated by those most impacted by the prohibition of cannabis or by nonprofit organizations whose services include support for the formerly incarcerated. The program’s expansion is expected to help build a more equitable market that helps overcome the impacts of the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition.
OCM received approximately 900 applications for CAURD licenses, and the Cannabis Control Board has already issued 66 provisional licenses to date. The goal of the New York State Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act of 2021 (MRTA) is to prioritize licenses for individuals with cannabis convictions or their close family members.
The expansion will proportionally increase licenses in each region and will be awarded from the existing pool of qualifying business applicants. For example, the Central New York region will now receive 14 licenses, up from seven, while the Mohawk Valley will receive four licenses and the Finger Lakes region will receive 18 licenses.
Chris Alexander, the executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management, expressed excitement about the positive energy surrounding the initiative and the efforts to support entrepreneurs who have previously suffered at the hands of New York State. Alexander also pledged to continue creating real opportunities for qualified applicants who have been shut out from legal cannabis markets across the country.
The expansion of CAURD licenses is expected to promote a more equitable market, provide opportunities for impacted individuals, and advance the state’s cannabis industry.
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