New York Doubles Number of “Justice-Involved” Cannabis Retail Permits in Effort to Expand Market and Increase Social Equity
NEW YORK– New York’s state Cannabis Control Board has announced it will double the number of “justice-involved” retail permits from 150 to 300, in an effort to expand the market and support social equity retailers. While the move was partly driven by the fact that many qualified applicants can now afford to pay for their own retail locations, it also seeks to address a funding shortfall. Despite receiving $50 million in state funding, the fund run by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York aimed at providing loans for social equity retailers has reportedly failed to raise an additional $150 million from private investors. The state has so far issued only 66 conditional adult-use retail dispensary licenses, out of more than 900 applications submitted last year.
The increased number of licenses will be proportional across the state’s 14 regions. The permit totals range from 38 in Brooklyn to four in Mohawk Valley, with an aim to have the majority of the remaining applications from the pool of 300 applicants licensed by the next Cannabis Control Board meeting in April. While the resources of the fund are not limitless, the first group of 150 licensees will continue to have access to it if they require it, according to Chris Alexander, the executive director of the New York Office of Cannabis Management. He added that the decision to expand permits is a “victory for all CAURD applicants who took the time to fill out their applications”, particularly those who overcame PTSD in order to return to the same courts where they were convicted to request their certificates of disposition. However, the increase in permits does not appear to affect the number available to qualified non-profits.
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