The Big Apple's New Initiative To Equitably Grow NYC's Cannabis Industry

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Small Business Services (SBS) commissioner Kevin D. Kim announced the launch of Cannabis NYC, a first-of-its-kind initiative and suite of services to support the equitable growth of the cannabis industry in the Big Apple.

As a key pillar of Adams’ Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery, the initiative provides business assistance to justice-involved New Yorkers ahead of the state's opening of cannabis retail license applications.

“We light up our economy and launch Cannabis NYC — a first-of-its-kind initiative to support equitable growth of the cannabis industry in New York City,” said Adams. “The regulated adult-use cannabis industry is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our underserved communities that have, for too long, faced disproportionate rates of drug-related incarceration to get in on the industry on the ground floor.”

Supporting Cannabis Entrepreneurs

Cannabis NYC, housed at the SBS, will work with industry stakeholders to create good jobs, successful small businesses, and sustainable economic opportunities, while also addressing the harms of cannabis prohibition.

“Cannabis NYC will plant the seeds for the economy of tomorrow by helping New Yorkers apply for licenses and understand how to open and successfully run a business, while simultaneously rolling equity into our economy by giving those who have been justice-involved and those with a cannabis conviction a chance to succeed,” Adams added. “This is about creating good jobs, successful small businesses, and finally delivering equity to communities harmed by the ‘War on Drugs.’”

Cannabis NYC services will include the city’s first-ever technical assistance for cannabis license applicants, as well as other business services to take entrepreneurs beyond licensing to a thriving operation.

“Whether you’re interested in opening up a cannabis dispensary or in the many other business and employment opportunities that will soon be available, Cannabis NYC is ready to help you get to work,” said Maria Torres-Springer,  Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development.

“With a meaningful focus on equity, Cannabis NYC will help push our city toward a robust economic recovery with new and high-paying jobs and hundreds of millions in revenue to be reinvested in those communities most harmed by the War on Drugs and the current pandemic.”

SBS commissioner Kim said “Cannabis NYC is ready to help New Yorkers succeed in this budding industry (...) New York City and state will work hand-in-hand to deliver on our shared social equity goals, support the transition of legacy operators to the legal market, and turn the page on the ‘War on Drugs.’”

Equity Matters

Commissioner of Mayor's Office of EquitySideya Sherman said that “for generations, communities of color across our city have experienced the compounding social and economic impacts of the ‘War on Drugs.'

“The end of prohibition and the emerging New York cannabis industry opens avenues for change and prosperity (...) We're excited for this new chapter and what it means for those individuals and communities most harmed.”

Moreover, New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Andrew Kimball expressed that “New York City Economic Development Corporation is proud to work with our city and state partners to create an equitable adult-use cannabis industry in New York (...) Cannabis NYC will help businesses and our local economies through job creation while prioritizing investment in communities of color and supporting those who have been most adversely impacted by cannabis enforcement.”

Deanna Logan, the director, of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, also manifested that its administration is committed to "putting equity at the center of the new legal cannabis market."

Adult-use Cannabis Industry

According to the new initiative, the first phase of Cannabis NYC will focus on ensuring that justice-involved New Yorkers are able to apply for and secure retail licenses from the state.

"As legal cannabis businesses open their doors in the coming years, the initiative will expand to include a broad suite of business and technical support services tailored to the industry, as well as networking opportunities and efforts to establish Cannabis NYC as a global brand," reads the official announcement.

“The expected size of New York City’s emerging regulated adult-use cannabis will be historic. With estimates of up to $1.3 billion in sales by 2023, and between 19,000-24,000 jobs created over the next three years.”

Applying For CAURD Licenses

The NY Office of Cannabis Management announced it will begin accepting applications for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses starting on August 25, 2022. "I'm proud New York will be a national model for the safe, equitable, and inclusive industry we are now building," Governor Kathy Hochul (D) said.

To advance the state’s ambitious equity goals and help New Yorkers interested in applying for CAURD licenses, Cannabis NYC will provide:

  • Application Support: Answer questions about CAURD application requirements, hold educational webinars, and work with license applicants to complete the application during the month-long application period from August 25, 2022 – September 26, 2022.
  • Support Beyond the License: Connect aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs to no-cost services, along with technical assistance, to support successful businesses.
  • Long-Term Industry Support: Expand programming as the industry grows to connect New Yorkers to good jobs and build strong businesses in the cannabis industry, as well as ancillary industries that do not touch the plant.

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