CMO Announces New York State Will Begin Accepting Applications For First Cannabis Retail Dispensaries

Today, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) announced that New York State has begun accepting applications for the first retail cannabis dispensary licenses for adult use.

The license, called the Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) license, is a key pillar of the New York State Seeding Opportunity Initiative.

Through this initiative, New York’s first legal adult-use retail dispensaries will be run by those most affected by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition, and those first sales will be made with products grown by New York farmers.

Additionally, the CMO announced that the state will launch a campaign to help hundreds of established and emerging New York businesses that have been permitted to participate in the state’s legalized recreational cannabis market.

The campaign, run through the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF), will help these companies meet their workers’ compensation, disability and paid family leave obligations, and ensure that their workers are fully protected if injured on or off the job. .


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Eligible applicants can apply under the Eligible Business or Eligible Non-Profit Organization stream.

Prospective applicants to eligible companies must:

  • Have a conviction for a marijuana-related offense that occurred before the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA) was passed on March 31, 2021, or have had a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or a dependent with a pre-MRTA conviction for a marijuana-related offense in New York State.
  • Have experience owning and operating a qualifying business that has been profitable for at least two years.

Specific ownership and control requirements will depend on the structure of applicant companies and the eligibility criteria under which they are applying. All applicants must be led by individuals involved in justice, whether a multi-owner, individual, sole proprietor, or sole proprietor entity.

Applicants will be able to access the application portal for a CAURD license on New York State Business Express. The Office of Cannabis Management has published an interactive resource page to help you. The application window will close on September 26, 2022.

“Today marks the opening of the CAURD application window. From Brooklyn to Buffalo, from Montauk to Plattsburgh, we are building something different in the Empire State. We are launching a cannabis industry with people who have suffered and we are directly impacted by unjust cannabis prohibition,” said Tremaine Wright, Chair of the Cannabis Control Commission. “We are leading with justice-impacted entrepreneurs because NY is committed to restoring and reinvest. And the entrepreneurs who will be granted licenses are on the verge of success because of their business experience and the multitude of supports that will be offered through the Seeding Opportunity initiative. Thank you, Governor Hochul, from creating the Seeding Opportunity Initiative and reaffirming New York’s commitment to ensuring that first sales are made by those harmed by prohibition.

“Today, New York took a big step forward by opening the CAURD application portal and providing resources to guide justice-involved applicants through this process,” said Chris Alexander, executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management. “Through the leadership of Governor Hochul and the actions of the Cannabis Control Commission, we are creating opportunity across New York State and helping people harmed by prohibition access the market we are building. This is what justice in action looks like.

“The modern cannabis industry that emerged in the wake of prohibition is characterized by steep barriers to entry that reward privilege and stifle opportunity. The importance of making New York’s cannabis industry accessible to New Yorkers who were harmed by prohibition on day one cannot be overstated,” said Damian Fagon, Chief Equity Officer at the Office of Cannabis Management. . “That’s why I’m so proud that in New York, we’re ensuring these first turnkey retail operations are for those with previous marijuana convictions and their family members.” We’ve made the application process as easy as possible, so you won’t need third-party help. And we’re making sure that real New Yorkers have a chance to enter the ground floor of this industry. And we’re just getting started.



“With these developments, New York reaffirms its commitment to creating opportunity, breaking down barriers, and laying the foundation for creating generational wealth that has been out of reach for too many of our citizens, especially those black and brown communities for far too long,” said DASNY President and CEO Reuben McDaniel, III. “For generations, aspiring entrepreneurs have been held back by a lack of access to capital. I’m proud that DASNY is working to overcome this obstacle.

“As New York’s new business market opens to reflect Governor Hochul’s bold vision to advance fairness in the cannabis industry, dozens of startups and established companies across the supply chain cannabis will need the same protection for their workers that any other business needs, including workers. compensation, disability and paid family leave,” said Gaurav Vasisht, executive director and CEO of NYSIF. “As a state-owned entity with more than a century of experience supporting new markets, NYSIF looks forward to helping entrepreneurs meet their insurance needs and comply with these mandatory requirements.”

In March 2022, the Cannabis Control Board voted to release draft regulations for CAURD license holders for public comment. The public comment period ended on May 31, 2022. On July 14, 2022, the Cannabis Control Board approved the final rules and regulations for the CAURD Licensing Program.

As part of the Seeding Opportunity initiative, CAURD applicants will receive support from the Cannabis Social Equity Investment Fund, which was included in the state budget passed in April. In June, the selection of Social Equity Impact Ventures, LLC, a leading minority-led investment team, was announced to sponsor and manage the $200 million New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund. Impact Ventures is a joint venture between an entity led by NBA Hall of Famer and entrepreneur Chris Webber, who is currently an active partner in a fund for cannabis-related projects, entrepreneur Lavetta Willis, also a partner in the venture related to cannabis and who has extensive experience in brand building; an affiliate of Siebert Williams Shank (SWS), one of the nation’s leading minority and women-owned investment banking firms, to be led by SWS CEO Suzanne Shank and SWS Chief Administrative Officer , William Thompson, former Comptroller of the City of New York. In May 2022, the Dormitory Authority for the State of New York (DASNY) issued a request for proposals seeking a fund manager to sponsor and manage the $200 million fund.

The Fund is another key part of the Seeding Opportunity Initiative to create opportunities for people with business experience who have been, or their family members have been, convicted of cannabis-related offences. The initiative is a step toward removing barriers that have significantly impeded the progress of these individuals in other states, particularly access to the capital needed to find, lease, build and equip appropriate real estate for health clinics. retail sale of cannabis for conditional use for adults.

New York State’s Cannabis Law prioritizes building a fair cannabis industry designed to offset harms caused by the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition, including a priority for individuals or their family members who have been convicted of cannabis-related crimes. The CMO launched a public service advertisement in June detailing how, over the past 30 years, black New Yorkers were 15 times more likely to be arrested on a cannabis-related charge than white New Yorkers, while Latino New Yorkers were 8 times more likely, despite data showing almost uniform usage among the 3 groups. The Seeding Opportunity initiative is designed to open up New York’s adult use market while meeting the goals of the state’s cannabis law.

New York’s recreational cannabis market is expected to reach $4.2 billion by 2027 and create up to 60,000 jobs. NYSIF’s awareness campaign will help ensure the availability of workers’ compensation, disability insurance, and paid family leave for New York businesses, and the company has taken many steps to facilitate this process. for cannabis businesses. Businesses may qualify for upfront premium discounts and may also be eligible to join NYSIF’s Safety Group Program for additional savings.

In July, it was announced that SUNY and CUNY community colleges will receive $5 million in funding to support the creation or enhancement of short-term degree programs or course offerings that provide pathways employment in the cannabis industry. Funding will support the creation or enhancement of non-degree, degree-eligible courses, programs, stackable credentials, and/or micro-credentials that quickly meet the skills needs of local employers in the cannabis sector, a projected multi-billion dollar industry with tens of thousands jobs. Selected campuses must also partner with local cannabis industry employers and receive their feedback on program development.

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