“Today is a monumental day for New York’s nascent cannabis industry,” Tremaine Wright, the chair of the New York Cannabis Control Board,
36 Cannabis Cannabis Dispensary Licenses Awarded
The OCM announced that a total of 36 Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses had been awarded to 28 “justice-involved” individuals and eight nonprofit organizations, with at least one license awarded to each available region in the state. Earlier this month, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction barring the state from issuing dispensary licenses in five regions of New York, including Finger Lakes, central New York, western New York, the Mid Hudson and Brooklyn.
In August, the OCM announced that the first 150 CAURD licenses would be issued to companies headed by individuals with past convictions for marijuana-related crimes, with another 25 reserved for qualified nonprofit organizations. A total of 900 applications were received for the highly desirable licenses to get the first shot at New York’s market for recreational cannabis.
“Today, OCM took a massive stride towards ensuring that social and economic equity will be infused throughout all facets of the emerging cannabis industry,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams
Eight Licenses Awarded to Nonprofit Organizations
Adams also noted that in addition to the 28 individuals with past convictions for cannabis-related offenses, another eight CAURD licenses were awarded to organizations that work to make better lives for New York’s most vulnerable residents.
“In addition to prioritizing ‘justice-involved’ applicants, I commend OCM for making the unprecedented decision to offer a portion of licenses to non-profit organizations — like LIFE Camp, Housing Works, and The DOE Fund — that have been working to improve outcomes for marginalized people in New York City for decades,” said Adams. “This unique approach accomplishes multiple major milestones: Those directly harmed by cannabis criminalization are given the opportunity to better themselves through entrepreneurship, while also providing funding to non-profit organizations that have historically supported underserved New Yorkers.”
“LIFE Camp has a demonstrated history of successfully working with justice-involved individuals for more than 20 years,” she said in a statement emailed to High There. “We have been dedicated to reducing violence in our communities, providing services to support strong and healthy families, and cultivating young leaders. This dispensary will be an extension of those efforts.”
Ford added that as New York transitions from marijuana prohibition to a regulated cannabis industry, it is important that some of the monetary resources made possible by reform help to heal the economic and emotional trauma caused by the failed War on Drugs.
“We intend to take what we learn as we embark on opening one of the first legal cannabis dispensaries in the state to teach other nonprofits how they can succeed, as well as provide job training and employment opportunities to people formerly incarcerated with cannabis offenses,” she said. “We look forward to working with the Office of Cannabis Management and other leaders to keep equity and integrity at the heart of what we are building.”