New York regulators released details on Wednesday that paint a clearer picture of what the state’s retail cannabis landscape will look like when the adult use industry launches in the coming months.
On Thursday, the application window opens for up to 150 “justice-involved” people to receive a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) license to open one of New York’s first cannabis shops. Ahead of the application launch, new details show how many of these shops will be located in each region of New York, based on population. For example, Manhattan will qualify for a maximum of 22 CAURD-eligible dispensaries, whereas the Mohawk Valley, located between the Adirondack Mountains and Catskill Mountains, will be eligible for just two.
CAURD applications will be reviewed on a “regional basis, and the sequence of regional review will depend, in part, on the total number of CAURD applications in each region,” according to the Office of Cannabis Management.
In the eyes of OCM, “justice-involved” means that an applicant has a cannabis-related arrest record and two years of qualifying business experience.
These applicants will have access to turnkey storefronts through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), a program created by the $200 million equity fund that Gov. Kathy Hochul announced in January
And, regulators announced on Wednesday that up to 25 qualifying non-profit organizations could be eligible for this license type, though they will not be able to tap into the $200 million equity fund in the same way as the other CAURD-eligible individuals.
These non-profits must have “a history of serving justice-involved individuals and creating vocational opportunities for them.”
At the March Cannabis Control Board meeting, OCM executive director Chris Alexander spoke about the state’s “Seeding Opportunity Initiative,” which includes these CAURD licenses, as well as conditional licenses that have allowed existing hemp operators a head start to grow and process cannabis for adult use.
“We’ve seen how access to capital and real estate have been significant barriers to getting equity entrepreneurs into the space. And so we’re doing the work now to remove those barriers and provide real, meaningful support,” Alexander said.