New York is on track to see its first adult use cannabis sales in the next six months.
At its Thursday meeting, the Cannabis Control Board, which sits within the Office of Cannabis Management, approved another 58 conditional adult use cultivator licenses, bringing the total to 146.
“We received more than 200 applications from New York’s hemp farmers,” said Chris Alexander, OCM’s executive director. “We’ve been moving quickly knowing that the growing season is short and wanting for our farmers to take full advantage of that season.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill in February to allow licensed hemp farmers in the state to apply to cultivate and distribute cannabis for adult use. The state has also released draft regulations for conditional adult use retail licenses, and the public comment period on those closes at the end of May. This license type was announced in March, and is reserved for “justice involved” applicants, which are individuals who have a cannabis conviction, or have a parent or guardian with one.
“We expect licensing to open this summer,” said Tremaine Wright, chair of the CCB, on Thursday.
The reason why all of these license types are “conditional” is because regulators are still drafting rules for the adult use program. So while these license holders will get a head start on adult use cannabis cultivation and sales this year, they will eventually need to re-apply when the regulations are finalized.
Board member Reuben McDaniel, who also serves as the president and CEO of the state’s Dormitory Authority, provided an update during Thursday’s meeting with regard to the Authority’s current cannabis-related Requests for Proposal. Both RFPs that are currently open are aimed at the forthcoming conditional retail license holders.
One of the RFPs is seeking a manager for the state’s $200 million Social Equity Cannabis Investment Program fund. This fund will “finance the leasing and equipping of adult use retail cannabis dispensaries in New York state to be operated by social equity licensees.”
The second RFP seeks design-build firms to “provide design, construction, and other services needed to renovate existing spaces for conditional adult-use cannabis retail dispensary facilities to be operated by social equity licensees.” The “construction, equipping and leasing” costs of these sites will be paid for by the aforementioned Fund, and then repaid by the licensees. The state expects roughly 150 such shops.
“Our goal is to get between 8 to 10 design build firms throughout the state of New York,” McDaniel said on Thursday, adding that the Authority is looking for “things like experience building retail cannabis locations in other places around the country.”
There has been a flurry of cannabis-related activity in the state, as Cannabis Wire has reported, from New York City to Albany.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation, for example, put out a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) “to engage public resources and collaborate in promoting the development of an equitable cannabis industry in New York City.”
And, just this month, lawmakers have introduced nearly a dozen cannabis-related bills.