New York's long-awaited adult-use cannabis program is live, almost. As it evolves, big names in the space are eager to take their place although the ten operators already running medical cannabis businesses in the Empire State have the home team advantage.
Out of those ten are five publicity traded companies, including Columbia Care (OTCQX: CCHWF), Curaleaf CURLF, MedMen MMNFF, Acreage Holdings ACRDF and Goodness Growth Holdings GDNSF previously known as Vireo Health International. Two of them have just announced the start of whole flower cannabis sales this week.
Prior to this month, cannabis for medical patients was only available in concentrated form, but the program seems to be evolving quickly under Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Curaleaf, Columbia Care And PharmaCann Among First
Curaleaf, based in Wakefield, Mass., confirmed Tuesday that its initial batches of New York whole flower have been approved by third-party labs and will begin the sale of three initial strains on Oct. 26th in its Newburgh location, on Oct. 27th in Carle Place, Forest Hills and Plattsburgh dispensaries.
"Our patients have been waiting a long time for this day and we couldn't be happier to be able to deliver whole flower product to all four of our New York locations in the next day or so and to the majority of our wholesale partners within the month," Joe Bayern, CEO of Curaleaf stated. "Fortunately, we have been preparing for this moment and we are more than ready with plenty of product for all our New York locations.“
The next in line, New York-based Columbia Care reported Monday that its whole flower will be available for purchase starting Oct. 26th at its Rochester dispensary and commencing Oct. 27th in its other dispensaries across the state.
“We are New York’s home team, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Columbia Care continues to be on the leading edge of the state’s cannabis program – from opening the first medical dispensary in New York State and New York City, to being the first to bring a critical, natural medicine in its most highly-demanded and cost-effective form, whole flower, to New Yorkers,” said Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care.
Columbia Care added that it plans to open four additional medical dispensaries in New York for a total of eight dispensaries in the state, three of which will be co-located with adult-use, pending regulatory approval.
The Chicago-based privately held vertically integrated cannabis company, PharmaCann announced Tuesday that its Verilife dispensaries in Albany and the Bronx have started to sell whole flower cannabis under the “matter” brand as of Oct. 26th. The company noted that whole flower will also be available in its Amherst and Liverpool locations as of Oct. 27th.
“We are pleased to bring patients the first whole flower for sale in the State of New York across multiple locations,” said Brett Novey, CEO of PharmaCann. “This exciting milestone builds on our history as the first medical cannabis license holder in New York. We commend Governor Hochul, her administration, and the Office of Cannabis Management for their commitment to expanding offerings to New York Medical patients.”
New York Cannabis Evolution
New York first legalized medical cannabis in 2014. Some seven years later in March 2021, the state embraced the plant in its “full shape” when former
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed recreational marijuana into law, making it the 15th state in the U.S. to legalize cannabis.
The legislation allows adults 21 and older to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of marijuana concentrates and to buy recreational cannabis from licensed retailers. The bill also permits the cultivation of up to three mature and three immature plants for personal use.
The program, however, is still evolving with new rules and changes expected as regulators figure out what works best.
Just recently, the Empire State made a bold move by becoming the first state in the Union to prohibit employers from testing most employees for cannabis.
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