NY Cannabis Official Says Legal Weed Should Hit Shelves By Fall, Here's Who Will Sell It First

Earlier this month, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the New York Cannabis Control Board had approved 52 adult-use Cannabis Conditional Cultivator Licenses across the state. These are the first adult-use cannabis licenses granted.

The move allowed New York's hemp growers to supply the state's adult-use cannabis industry, slated to launch later in 2022. In addition, over 150 requests were submitted to the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) following the March 15 opening of the application portal.

The regulators also approved new draft regulations that would offer an initial round of conditional retail dispensary licenses, reserving the first batch for those convicted of a marijuana-related offense or whose parents, spouses, or children were convicted of an offense in New York State before March 31, 2021, when former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed recreational marijuana into law.

To qualify, justice-involved applicants would have to show some prior business experience and success, a requirement that has provoked some controversy as being unreasonable.

Top Official Explains Conditional Retail Dispensary Licenses

During a public forum hosted by the Central Harlem Community Board on Saturday, Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said that she expects a maximum of 200 businesses will receive conditional dispensary licenses, reported Syracuse.

Wright also said that conditional dispensary license holders would be eligible to receive loans with interest. Regulators plan to use the $200 million that Gov. Hochul earlier pledged to support social equity applicants within the state's burgeoning marijuana market to fund the initiative.

"Loan funds will be provided to our conditional dispensary licensees," Wright said. "I want you to think about this as a franchise model: these folks don't get to pick where their location is, they will have a lot of assistance on buildout, and they will repay their loans."

To help the cause, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) has released a Request for Information to measure interest among possible investment partners who would provide funds for direct and indirect expenses. 

When Will Products Reach Shelves?

Wright said she anticipates that cannabis products from conditional growers will be on the shelves by this coming fall.

Office of Cannabis Management Director Chris Alexander agrees. "By fall, we should have some products that are ready to be harvested," he told NY Cannabis Insider. "We'll have the conditional growers, we'll have the dispensaries online – some of them, at least – and so we'll have a full supply chain and an active market."

Alexander noted that general licensed businesses probably won't go online by the year-end or even early 2023.

Marijuana Gifting Flourishes

Meanwhile, as New York inches toward launching a retail market, sales of buds and edibles are already flourishing in Manhattan.

Even though New York cannabis regulators proclaimed marijuana gifting to be illegal in October, stores in the Big Apple are selling a product or service to consumers and then giving them weed as a "gift."

This "gifting" practice came to the attention of the Office of Cannabis Management's (OCM) Enforcement Unit, which recently sent cease and desist letters to more than two dozen businesses it found to be doing just that.

Despite warnings from the state regulators, unlicensed marijuana dispensaries continue to multiply in New York City as well as other New York towns.

It seems New Yorkers can't wait until fall.

Photo: Courtesy of Benzinga

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsRetail SalesMarketsGeneralcannabis salesChris AlexanderGov. Kathy Hochulnew yorkRecreational MarijuanaretailSyracuseTremaine Wright
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