Tremaine Wright delivered her first public speech since being appointed Chair of the New York State Cannabis Control Board at the CWCBExpo (Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition) at the Javits Center on November 4. Wright leads the five-member board charged with approving a regulatory framework for New York’s cannabis industry and will oversee licensing of cannabis businesses. In her remarks before 400 people at the business-to-business cannabis industry trade show, Wright reiterated that New York will support social equity licenses for people from communities historically affected by the War on Drugs. “We’re about to create the most equitable cannabis program in the country,” she said. Wright also said that New York will prevent social equity licenses from being sold to large companies by requiring that they be sold to other social equity licensees. However, the regulations are currently being written and there are few details about how the state will help social equity applicants raise capital to start cannabis businesses. Wright also said that all license applicants will be required to share their ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) frameworks to operate in the state. The Board has a goal of issuing licenses within 18 months. Members of New York’s Office of Cannabis Management were also in attendance at the Expo.
By Naina Kamath
While in recent years the main critique of the legal cannabis industry has revolved around its profitability despite high drug-related incarceration rates, a new focus, inspired in part by the Black Lives Matter movement, has been placed on the underrepresentation of Black business owners and executives in the legal cannabis industry. This underrepresentation is thought to be the result of overwhelming barriers to entry, particularly for Black business owners in the cannabis industry, who must initially rely on the discretion of investors and dispensaries. Continue reading “Addressing Systemic Racism and Barriers to Entry in the Cannabis Industry”