New York’s Office of Cannabis Management Grants Cultivation Licenses and Encourages Enthusiasm for Dispensary Licenses

By Kathleen M. Kline

New York State’s Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”) held a board meeting on May 19, 2020. As always, the meeting was available for observation by the public through online streaming.

The Board opened by discussing the Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License, which was created by a state law signed on February 22, 2022, and which allows eligible hemp growers to apply for a license to grow cannabis containing over .3% THC. The Board noted that it has so far approved 88 of the approximately 200 Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License applications it has received, and that the Chairman had issued a preliminary determination to grant approval to 58 additional applications. Next, the Board voted on Resolution 2022-10, approving the resolution and thus granting licenses to these 58 applicants. The application window for the Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License closes on June 30, 2022.

The Board also discussed licensing of dispensaries. In March, the Cannabis Control Board issued proposed regulations to govern Conditional Adult Use Dispensary Licenses – the public comment period for these proposed regulations is open until May 31, 2022. In anticipation of these regulations coming into effect, the OCM has been holding “virtual workshops” and “virtual listening sessions” for potential applicants and other interested individuals. The office held two webinars this past week, and has two listening sessions scheduled for May 24 and 25: “Supporting NY Cannabis Cultivators,” and “Ensuring Equity in NY’s Cannabis Industry.”

In connection with its anticipated issuance of conditional dispensary licenses, the state hopes to facilitate social equity in its cannabis program. The board discussed the Social Equity Cannabis Investment Program, under which New York intends to dedicate $200 million of its 2023 budget toward funding the state’s adult-use cannabis market, with a focus on funding small businesses and minorities. To this end, the state is soliciting responses to two RFPs: first, for Fund Manager for the Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, a to-be-formed limited partnership intended to finance dispensaries operated by “Social Equity Licensees”; and second, for design and build services necessary to renovate and/or build retail locations. The Board noted that minority and small-business applicants are particularly encouraged to submit proposals for these two initiatives. Proposals are due June 8 and June 13, respectively.

A video and transcript of the May 19 board meeting will be posted on the OCM’s website.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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