A group of legacy operators has formed a coalition called Unified Legacy Operators Council (UNLOC) from New York State, in order to compel regulators to take the underground industry seriously. The group, with about 25 members, expressed that "legacy entrepreneurs have deep connections in the marketplace and that their experience, supply chains, and personal connections with customers should bolster their inclusion in the regulated industry," reported Times Union on Tuesday.
"This is a close-quarters market. That's just how it's always been, so when the government sticks their finger in it, they gotta recognize that first," said Umi, a former hip hop artist and legacy operator who joined the coalition.
“The basis (of the budding regulated industry) is top-down, we need to turn that around. Community control," M-1, a rapper and member of the coalition said. "There's no way that the same capitalist exploitation that has happened in America can be good for cannabis."
Dispensary Licenses For individuals Convicted Cf Marijuana Offenses
When asked about the integration of existing operators into the new industry, Aaron Ghitelman, a spokesperson for the Office of Cannabis Management said: "Since our office's launch, we've met with various stakeholders, including those who have participated in the legacy market."
The office drafted an initial set of regulations of 100-plus conditional dispensary licenses for individuals who had been previously convicted of marijuana offenses. The state's Dormitory Authority is planning to help the license holders, but the coalition members are worried about the license plan.
"As a proprietor that understands the business, it puts you in a very precarious situation," Umi said. "First of all, regulating where are you going to situate your brick and mortar; and then they are going to put you in debt."
He also worried that it was still unclear whether the early New York crop will meet the standards the state's smokers are accustomed to.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul Pledges $200M To Boost Social Equity Efforts
In January, Gov. Hochul (D) revealed in an extensive State of the State book, her plan for 2022, including policies she plans to pursue as well as her intentions to promote equity and economic justice in the cannabis industry. To that end, the governor pledged $200 million to support social equity applicants within the state’s burgeoning marijuana market.
Photo by Simon Fairhurst on Unsplash.
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