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New York Retail Dispensary Licenses Announced

New York Office of Cannabis Management announced the final list of applicants for the retail marijuana licenses. On Nov. 20, 36 applicants were selected from a pool that included 903 applicants.

“BREAKING: In a historic decision, the #NYCCB has approved the first round of CAURD [Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary] licensees. 28 Justice-involved individuals & 8 Nonprofit organizations will make the first adult use-sales by New York farmers and bring countless opportunities to our communities. #NYCCB” the OCM wrote on TwitterNovember 21. Manhattan (22), Long Islands (20), Brooklyn (18), Mid-Hudson (19), Queens (16), are some of the top CAURD regions.

According to The New York TimesThe majority of the finalists were either previously convicted of cannabis offenses or are close to someone who was convicted. The final list also includes eight non-profit groups, such as Housing Works and The Doe Fund.

In addition to the finalist announcement, the OCM also released a 282-page document detailing the state’s draft regulations. “The #NYCCB has voted to advance OCM’s largest adult-use cannabis regulation package since the MRTA [Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act]Public comment was invited. These regulations are intended to establish rules for a safe, equitable, consumer-driven market focused on small businesses,” the agency wroteThe public is invited to make comments regulations@ocm.ny.govThis site will be available for 60 days

OCM previously stated it had plans to open some dispensaries before 2022. “We’re excited about granting the first adult-use cannabis licenses today,” said OCM spokesperson Trivette Knowles. “New York is ready for adult-use cannabis sales and we’re still working towards the goal of having the first sales begin this calendar year.” Eventually, an estimated 150 retail licenses are expected to be awarded across the state.

This is in line with a previous statement by Gov. Kathy Hochul also spoke out in October. “We expect the first 20 dispensaries to be open by the end of this year,” Hochul said. “And then every month or so, another 20. So, we’re not going to just jam it out there. It’s going to work and be successful.”

New York’s cannabis harvest and storage is estimated to exceed $750 millions. But, there are no licensed dispensaries that can sell it.

According to New York-based Hudson Cannabis farm CEO Melany Dobson, they’ve just been waiting for the OCM to greenlight license approval. “It’s an unclear path to market. We’ve been told again and again that dispensaries will open before the end of the year,” Dobson told Bloomberg. “I’ve acted as though that’s our single source of proof, so we’re prepared for that.”

When cannabis begins to age it starts to lose its quality and color. “Old cannabis starts to have a brownish glow,” Dobson explained. While Hudson Cannabis’s operation allows it to store cannabis to prevent degradation for about 12 months, other farms may not be able to preserve their cannabis for long before it becomes unusable.

Recenty, a judge issued an injunction prohibiting New York regulators to issue retail licenses within five states. This injunction, which was issued by David C. Holland (a partner at the law firm Prince Lobel), could be extended to other areas of New York. “This could have a wider impact across the entire state as the same state-specific contact and conviction requirements were imposed in 14 regions in New York, which are designated to set up a CAURD dispensary and may have prevented justice-involved individuals from other states from applying for a conditional license because of the state’s efforts to protect and promote its emerging cannabis industry,” Holland stated.