New York cannabis regulators are set to open the window for applicants aiming to open the state’s first adult-use cannabis shops.
On Wednesday, the Office of Cannabis Management released the final regulations and applications for these Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensees ahead of Thursday’s Cannabis Control Board meeting. If approved, the regulations go into effect on August 3.
“I’m immensely proud of the work my team is doing to craft thoughtful regulations for a new industry. We’re doing this faster than expected, and we’re doing this the right way,” Office of Cannabis Management executive director Chris Alexander said in a statement.
Once these licenses are awarded, the supply chain for the first adult use cannabis sales, expected to start at the end of 2022, will be complete. Regulators have already awarded more than 200 cultivation licenses, and are currently accepting applications from processors who will turn that cannabis into products like vape cartridges. Regulators are also set to approve 20 additional cultivators on Thursday.
In February, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill to allow hemp farmers to be the first to cultivate and distribute cannabis for adult use. In March, cannabis regulators approved a proposal to allow individuals who have a record of cannabis conviction, or have a parent or guardian with one, to be the first to apply for adult-use retail licenses. This effort was aimed at “jumpstarting” the “investment into the communities that are most impacted” by cannabis prohibition, Alexander said in March.
“These first equity entrepreneurs will then generate the revenue that will help us develop tools to support equity applicants across all license types as we continue to ramp up the industry. That’s how we’re getting started,” Alexander said on June 30, during the first meeting of the state’s Cannabis Advisory Board.
All of these licenses are conditional, which means that these entities will have to apply for final licensure once the formal adult use regulations are in place. So far, only formal regulations for testing, packaging, and advertising have been released for public comment.
Public comment on the draft CAURD regulations, released in March, closed on May 31. There was no revision released for further public comment, and the Office says it will share its “assessment” of the more than 600 public comments “in the coming days.”
These CAURD licenses will only be available through this one-time application window, and regulators have said that they expect roughly 150 such shops.
Awardees will get significant support through the state’s $200 million New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, which will be used to provide these licensees with turnkey cannabis retail shops.
Last month, officials from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) announced that it selected Social Equity Impact Ventures, LLC to run the $200 million equity fund. Some noteworthy names involved in the joint venture: former NBA player Chris Webber and former Comptroller of New York City Bill Thompson. And, during the announcement, Reuben McDaniel, who serves as the president and CEO of DASNY and on the state’s Cannabis Control Board, shouted out a real estate company working with DASNY on the effort: CBRE Group, or Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis.
“Other states have struggled with implementing” equity, McDaniel said at DASNY’s Manhattan office on June 22. The fund was created, he continued, to “help those minority entrepreneurs get facilities identified, leased out, and doled out, so when they get their licenses they can move right in. And one of the big obstacles, access to capital and leases, will be eliminated by this fund.”