On March 10, 2022, the New York State Cannabis Control Board (CCB) held a public meeting, during which board members advanced measures that lay the foundation for the New York Cannabis Seeding Opportunity Initiative. This Initiative makes adult-use cannabis sales possible before the end of 2022 and positions equity-entrepreneur-owned retail dispensaries to make the first adult-use sales with locally grown New York cannabis.
The Initiative is comprised of three programs that aim to prioritize New York farmers and equity entrepreneurs: (1) conditional adult-use retail dispensary licensing; (2) conditional adult-use cultivator licensing; and (3) the Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund.
Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary Regulations
These proposed regulations will now be filed and available online for public review and comment.
Conditional Adult-Use Cultivator Licensing
In addition, the Board approved an application form for Conditional Adult-Use Cultivator Licenses and ordered that the new license application period be able to begin on March 15, 2022, and will end on June 30, 2022. As seen in the mock-up form, an applicant will need to log in and create a New York Business Express business profile, upload information pertaining to their previous authorization to grow hemp under the Department of Agriculture and Markets Program, attest to the requirements of the license (such as, among other things, participation in the social equity mentorship program), and submit a $2,000 non-refundable payment.
Keep an eye out for the upcoming webinar hosted by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), which will provide more specific information for interested applicants. The details for this Webinar have not yet been released but will be available on OCM’s website.
Social Equity Cannabis Investment Program
As you may or may not know, Governor Hochul proposed a $200 million program in her FY 2023 Executive Budget, which is the nation’s first program of its kind aimed at providing funding for equity entrepreneurs at the forefront of the cannabis industry. This program will provide support for equity entrepreneurs with a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License in establishing and opening adult-use dispensaries. The program’s proposed funding and accompanying services will reduce barriers that these entrepreneurs may face and help position them for long-term success.
Through this proposal, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), which is a construction agency, plans to provide support via its leasing and construction services to site dispensaries and help with renovations to ensure that facilities meet all health, safety, and security requirements. DASNY released a Request for Information (RFI) to identify qualified parties interested in forming a fund to finance the establishment and development of retail dispensaries for the benefit of social and economic equity applicants. DASNY and OCM aim to invest between $750,000 and $1.5 million into each social-equity retail dispensary through this proposed fund. Responses to this RFI were due by March 16, 2022, after which we anticipate having more information on how this fund will work.
These three programs, forming the Seeding Opportunity Initiative, jumpstart New York’s cannabis industry and secure opportunities for the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs.
Although not guaranteed, we anticipate that remaining adult-use cannabis regulations will be released sometime in May 2022. Stay tuned as we will continue to provide updates on all developments relating to the New York recreational cannabis industry.