Movers and SHAKERS
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NYS Office of Cannabis Management Experiments With Synergistic Effects of Marijuana and Social Equity
The first marijuana dispensary and farm licenses in New York State will be managed to help provide reparations for those that have been previously convicted of pot-related crimes. Details of the plan were just provided by the Governor’s Press Office and are designed to provide a pathway for cannabis business ownership to benefit those who have been directly impacted by prior convictions.
New York approved the legalization of recreational marijuana on March 31, 2021.
Farm to Store “Seeding Opportunity”
New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul announced the novel Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which positions individuals with prior cannabis-related criminal offenses to be the first adult-use cannabis sales with products grown by New York farmers. The farm-to-store design is expected to allow the first legal recreational sales under the law before year-end 2022. The intent of the initiative is it “jumpstarts, New York’s cannabis industry, guarantees support for future equity applicants, and secures an early investment into communities most impacted by the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition.”
"New York State is making history, launching a first-of-its-kind approach to the cannabis industry that takes a major step forward in righting the wrongs of the past," Governor Hochul said. "The regulations advanced by the Cannabis Control Board today will prioritize local farmers and entrepreneurs, creating jobs and opportunity for communities that have been left out and left behind. I'm proud New York will be a national model for the safe, equitable, and inclusive industry we are now building," said Hochul.
The opening date of the application portal for both farms and dispensaries is March 15. It is expected that the process will allow planting during the Spring.
New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) Executive Director Chris Alexander said, “With the Seeding Opportunity Initiative, we are now on the path to doing what no state has done before: Put our farmers and equity entrepreneurs, not big, out of state businesses, at the forefront of the launch of our adult-use cannabis market. Thanks to the support of Governor Hochul and the action taken by the Board today, we’ve made a huge advancement in our efforts to prioritize New York’s small farmers, our equity entrepreneurs, and ultimately our goal to generate the resources that will support future equity applicants and drive investments into our communities most impacted by cannabis prohibition. We aren’t stopping here and work is already underway across all license types to open access to capital and develop supporting networks to build an equitable New York Cannabis Industry and setup our small businesses for long-term success.”
The plan weaves a number of the Governor’s priorities together to help serve the state's objectives. Aside from leveling the playing field for New York residents with prior marijuana convictions, the MRTA will also "prioritize and provide resources" to other groups that face barriers to entry into the state’s new cannabis industry. According to a fact sheet provided with the release, these include minority and women-owned businesses, distressed farmers and service-disabled veterans who will be encouraged to participate. The cannabis management fact sheet also says it will give preference to those applicants earning below 80% of the national average.
New York expects the first dispensary licenses within the state to go to NYS residents that have been convicted of marijuana crime(s). Farmers with similar convictions will also be given priority status. The “social equity” portion of the implementation also includes preference to those making below a certain amount, and women and minority-owned businesses.
New York hopes to develop an ecosystem where what is sold locally for recreational use, is sown locally.
Managing Editor, Channelchek
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