New York Update: Cannabis Retail License Approvals, Timeline, Criticism Of New Commercial Guidance


On Thursday, Axel Bernabe of the New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) told a Business of Cannabis conference in New York City, that the first adult-use cannabis retailer licenses “could be approved in about two weeks.” He referred to plans for an upcoming Cannabis Control Board (CCB) meeting, expected to meet on November 21 when the first set of Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses could be approved.

Despite regulators having said on several occasions that they’re on track to have recreational weed storefronts open by the end of the year, Bernabe was more specific about the timeline, saying the state is in a “position” to meet that purpose,  reported Marijuana Moment.

“We are on target” to open the first cannabis storefronts, owned by people who’ve been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs, this year,” said Tremaine Wright, chair of the CCB, the same day on a separate panel. “There will be stores open before the end of the year. We will keep opening until 150 are open across the state.”

Guidance for Adult-Use Dispensaries

“Guidance for Adult-Use Dispensaries,” a series of regulations for Conditional Adult-Use Retails Dispensary licensees and applicants, was released, following Gov. Kathy Hochul’s recent remark that New York is “on track” to kick off cannabis sales within months, building on her previous promise that the state would launch 20 dispensaries by the end of 2022.

“Retail dispensaries, their true parties of interest, passive investors, and any management service providers cannot have any interest in any business anywhere that cultivates, processes, or distributes cannabis,” states the guidance for those seeking to operate within the state’s recreational market.

Criticism Of The Guidance

However, multiple states’ cannabis industry stakeholders criticized the draft of retail guidelines recently issued by the OCM by saying “it could backfire by limiting investment options for social equity licensees and others,” according to the Green Market Report.

Because the rules would appear to be designed to protect family businesses from being overrun by better-capitalized competitors, such as multi-state operators, several industry insiders said the rules will likely make it much more difficult for smaller startups.

The OCM draft rules prohibit any investor from having an ownership stake in one of the initial 175 retail permits if that investor has any ownership whatsoever in any other type of cannabis company.

“This does feel like it’s a very big splash for a very big restriction that has not been properly vetted,” said New York attorney Lauren Rudick, who has six clients currently vying for retail permits.

“A lot of these (applicants) may have already committed to certain financiers, and those financiers may have cultivation operations in Florida or California or Michigan. I am hearing that ‘We have to divest, there’s going to be a lot of regulatory divestment here,’” Rudick added.

Consultant David Feldman, CEO at Skip Intro Advisors, echoed Rudick’s concerns and said the draft rules will create challenges, not just for successful players from out of state but for investors to put money into these companies. “That’s my biggest disappointment, that people who have money ready to deploy are going to be severely limited in how they can do it,” Feldman said. “And to say that that somehow brings in ‘Big Cannabis,’ I don’t see how it does.”

Finally, the OCM recently announced that it has loosened its testing requirements for bacteria, yeast, and mold after cultivators expressed concern that they wouldn’t be able to comply with the rigorous rules necessary to bring their products to market.

Get your daily dose of cannabis news on Benzinga Cannabis. Don’t miss out on any important developments in the industry.

Photo: Courtesy of Guilherme Bustamante on Unsplash


Image and article originally from Read the original article here.