In a move that some may embrace as long overdue, the New York legal recreational cannabis market has now opened its licensing process to anyone with a desire to run a dispensary.
The action comes as a result of the Cannabis Control Board, which operates under the state’s Office of Cannabis Management, voting on Tuesday to expand the market to applications from all those who do not have a prior marijuana conviction. This was a pre-requisite for the initial round of licenses. Starting on October 4, applications from all cultivators, processors, microbusinesses and retailers will be accepted.
The change from the earlier rule, which was part of the state’s social equity initiative to favor all those who had been adversely affected by the historical War on Drugs, comes a month after a New York court judge issued a temporary injunction on the issuing of new licenses. The catalyst for this brief ban was a lawsuit filed by a group of disabled veterans who contended that the state’s retail cannabis program, which excluded them from getting licenses in the initial round, was unconstitutional.
Not only has this news been welcome by prospective cannabis professionals but also long-time investors.
“New York may finally be recognizing that its adult-use legal cannabis launch has widely missed its expectations from stores open to state tax collections,” said Morgan Paxhia, co-founder and managing partner of San Francisco-based cannabis investment firm Poseidon Investment Management. “Long time industry operators have been pressuring the state to make course corrections and we may finally see change coming.”
Opening up the application process offers a great deal of promise for a market that has been a “major disappointment” for the legal cannabis industry, noted Paxhia.
“It should be so much more than what it is today,” he said, striking a note of candor. “The road back to New York’s prosperity seems long but we welcome a course correction from the state that fosters a much more efficient path for legal, licensed doors to open.”
The Office of Cannabis Management will be posting guidelines on the new application process in the next few days.
New York officially rolled out the legal recreational market late last December with the opening of its first legal dispensary in downtown Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood.