The first legal cannabis sales in New York are set to happen in the most New York of ways: by delivery.
On Friday, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) released guidance for the first licensed retailers of legal adult use cannabis, known as Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensees, who want to complete transactions through delivery, “jumpstarting sales of New York cannabis products with a model that will help them compete while providing options to licensee-entrepreneurs as they build new adult-use cannabis businesses,” regulators said Friday.
And, regulators told these CAURD license holders that they can select their own storefront locations and still qualify for funding from the state’s forthcoming $200 million social equity fund. Previously, as Cannabis Wire has reported, the state’s Dormitory Authority said it would provide turnkey storefronts to these CAURD licensees and select their locations for them.
The delivery guidance from regulators will allow CAURD license holders to operate in specific ways. For example, while storefronts get up and running, retail licensees will be able to “secure a warehouse” so they can fill delivery orders. But, customers won’t be able to visit the warehouse for sales or pick-up; they’ll be able to “place online/phone orders only.” And, all of this will be cash-free. Customers must be 21 years of age or older and have their IDs available for verification upon delivery of cannabis.
Delivery operators can use “bicycles, scooters or other similar methods of transportation as well as motor-vehicles.”
Also on Friday, Tremaine Wright, the chair of the Cannabis Control Board, which sits within the OCM, spoke at an event in the Bronx called the “Bronx Dispensary Showroom.” The three-day event, described as a “first-of-its-kind compliant cannabis retail pop-up experience,” focused on the need for education.
When asked if the first legal sales were still expected before the end of 2022, Wright confirmed that things are on track, and very likely to happen by delivery.
“Part of the dispensary license includes the ability to do delivery. So, all of them are empowered to utilize their license and they are at this moment making some business decisions on how they implement that. And they’re working with us,” Wright told Cannabis Wire.
In November, as Cannabis Wire reported, regulators awarded the first 36 CAURD licenses, of which 8 went to non-profits.
Regarding the change in the storefront selection process for these CAURD licensees, regulators said on Friday that they told CAURD licensees that they “can submit for approval their own proposed location for their retail store and may still qualify for financial support for renovations from the Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund operated by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY).”
Regulators added that “DASNY will continue the work of securing retail locations and locations will be
matched with licensees as they become available.”
Cannabis sales in New York will happen in two phases: in this first phase, only “justice-involved” individuals and non-profits can sell adult use cannabis, giving them a head start. Regulators plan to award up to 175 CAURD licenses. The cannabis they sell will come from conditionally licensed cultivators and processors, who began to grow in the spring and who had previously held a hemp license in the state.
The regulations that will govern the next phase of legal adult use sales still need to go through public comment, and any related revisions, before other entities, like existing medical cannabis operators in the state, known as Registered Organizations, can apply to enter the adult use industry.
Editors’ note: This story was updated with additional information from regulators’ Friday announcement.