New York Cannabis Control Board Approves 101 New Adult-Use Licenses

New York is continuing its slow roll toward expanding the number of cannabis businesses operating throughout the state. On April 12, the New York State Cannabis Control Board (CCB) approved 101 more adult-use cannabis licenses, and now the total number of licenses approved in 2024 so far sits at 403.

Gov. Kathy Hochul continues to be vocal about celebrating these milestones. “With the Cannabis Control Board’s issuance of 101 adult-use cannabis licenses, New York’s legal cannabis industry continues to make significant progress with over 400 licenses issued in 2024,” said Hochul. “Strengthening New York’s equitable cannabis industry and ensuring the hard-working small business owners operating in the legal market have the licenses to open are the best way to protect the integrity of sales in New York.”

The CCB recently approved a resolution that allowed for a diverse, ranging from varying microbusinesses, cultivators, processors, distributors, and retail dispensaries. “This resolution opens pathways for entrepreneurs and businesses to participate in the budding adult-use cannabis market, fostering economic growth and innovation,” the CCB wrote in a press release. This license round includes 25 cultivators, 25 dispensaries, 22 microbusinesses, 11 distributors, 10 provisional dispensaries, and eight processors.

Another resolution was passed, which gives the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) the ability to issue provisional licenses, which the CCB hopes will speed up the licensing process. “This measure aims to provide provisional license holders with opportunities to begin operations swiftly while adhering to regulatory requirements, fostering a dynamic and competitive marketplace,” the CCB explained.

Now, provisional licenses can be approved by the CCB in regularly scheduled meetings, as well as the OCM, allowing license holders to lock down their retail locations until its time to receive final approval from the CCB. Provisional licenses are granted if the applicant provides all the necessary materials that they would need to apply for a full retail license, with the exception of not yet having a physical store location.

CCB board chair Tremaine Wright praised the passage of the new resolutions, which will help build up the cannabis industry in New York. “These resolutions represent a significant milestone in our efforts to establish a robust and responsible adult-use cannabis market,” Wright said. “By issuing this new batch of licenses, enhancing enforcement protocols, and introducing provisional licensing, we are creating a framework that prioritizes equity, transparency, and public safety.”

OCM executive director Chris Alexander called the move a “crucial step forward” for the 101 new licensees “who have the grit, skill, and ability to make sure our equitable market has the power to deliver the quality cannabis products New Yorkers expect to purchase when they walk into a legal dispensary.”

Earlier this month, a New York State Supreme Court ruling struck down the state’s current ban on third party advertisements. Initially, the ruling invalidated all of New York’s adult-use regulations but was amended to apply only to the state’s rules on marketing.

The lawsuit was led by Leafly Holdings, Stage One Dispensary, and a New York-based consumer. “It’s impossible to overstate the importance of providing consumers with choices, and educational information when making purchasing decisions,” Leafly said in a statement. “It is critically important that licensed retailers have equal access to important advertising and marketing tools to help them succeed in a competitive landscape.”

Individuals such as Sen. Jeremy Cooney (current chair of the Senate cannabis subcommittee) were not as happy about the outcome. “Today’s State Supreme Court decision was another setback in a series of blows New York’s adult-use cannabis market has faced since legalization, three years ago,” said Cooney. “While some changes to marketing regulations are needed, the decision by the Court to throw out all agency regulations will ultimately slow progress at a time when we need to more aggressively combat illicit shops to grow a stronger, more-equitable legal market.”

In late March, the CCB also addressed the needs of struggling cannabis farmers by waiving cultivator license fees for the next two years. Hochul called farmers the “backbone” of the state, and explained the need to support those family farms. “I have made it clear that New York State needs to issue more dispensary licenses and kickstart cannabis sales in New York, and this two-year promise to Adult-Use Conditional Cultivators will make sure these farmers can reap the benefits of this growing industry,” Hochul said.

Previously, cultivators needed to pay a fee when they applied to transition to a non-conditional license (including cultivation and microbusinesses). The fee can be as low as $4,500, and as high as $40,000, depending on the license tier size and canopy size of their grow.

New York’s adult-use cannabis industry was signed into law in March 2021 by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo. While Hochul took office in August 2021, adult-use cannabis sales did not begin until December 2022. In January 2024, Hochul commented on how the rollout of the adult-use cannabis industry was a “disaster,” and in need of review. As of March 18, Hochul announced that her administration would be assessing the current state of industry regulations.

The post New York Cannabis Control Board Approves 101 New Adult-Use Licenses appeared first on High Times.

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