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New York State Plans to Launch 15-20 Cannabis Retail Stores in Fall 2022

Bethan Rose

by Bethan Rose

September 30, 2022 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
New York State Plans to Launch 15-20 Cannabis Retail Stores in Fall 2022

Fresh plans have been released regarding the launch of New York state’s first-ever recreational cannabis retail stores. The news emerges almost a year and a half since the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was signed into law.

Based on details of the plan, which were disclosed at a recent authority board meeting by the president and CEO of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), Reuben McDaniel, somewhere between 15 and 20 dispensaries are slated to open their doors before the year’s end.

Although it remains uncertain as to where exactly the first recreational cannabis stores in New York will be located, state leaders have been dropping hints about the looming launches for quite some time. During the meeting, McDaniel announced that the state’s cannabis businesses will begin serving customers no later than Oct. 1. However, some people remain skeptical, with McDaniel previously making false assumptions that the plan would be effective in August.

Cannabis Retail Stores for CAURD Licensees

Approximately 150 Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensees will have the opportunity to get in at the ground floor of New York’s recreational cannabis market. CAURD forms a significant element of the state’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which is designed to streamline the process of selling and growing for social equity entrepreneurs.

Social equity applicants are defined by New York state as people who reside in communities that have been unfairly impacted by the failed war on drugs. Veterans, women, people of color, and financially disadvantaged farmers also fall into this category.

CAURD license recipients will be obligated to open a store in a specific retail location that has been chosen and leased by the state. An August announcement from the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) indicated that seven of the first 150 recreational stores will be earmarked for business owners in the Capital Region. The remaining CAURD stores are set to begin business at the beginning of 2023. Applications will be welcome until Sept. 26.

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During the board meeting, Stephen Curro—managing director of construction for DASNY—said that he is actively discussing the prospect of leasing suitable facilities with 50 landlords. In addition to this, Curro says that DASNY has selected 10 teams to conduct the retail store construction phase for each chosen company, some of which will be small companies and others of which will be large national companies.

Teams have already been chosen, but they won’t receive their official contracts until after the financing has been issued.

Industry Participants Must Meet Certain Criteria

When the MRTA was approved on March 31, 2021, it officially legalized the plant for adults aged 21 and above. The law established a regulatory structure to safeguard public health and safety, all while advocating economic development and social equity.

The OCM is responsible for awarding business licenses for the state’s hemp, medical, and recreational cannabis industries. Cannabis cultivators, dispensaries, distributors, and processors can apply for licensing from the OCM to grow and sell the plant statewide.

Only people who meet the state’s criteria for being justice-involved can obtain one of OCM’s CAURD licenses. The eligibility criteria include the following:

  • Business owners or a close family member must have been convicted of a cannabis-related offense in New York state before March 31, 2021, as well as be able to include conviction documentation with their application.
  • The justice-involved individual must control, own, or manage at least 30% of the planned cannabis retail dispensary.
  • Hopeful business owners must adhere to the state’s criteria as a “qualifying business.” Specifically, the justice-involved applicant must control or own a minimum of 10% of an operating business and prove that the company has generated a minimum of two years of positive net profits during the ownership phase.
  • Applicants must satisfy the state’s criteria as a person with a “significant presence” across the State of New York.

Cannabis retail store applicants are encouraged to visit the OCM’s website to sign up and/or read updates on the state’s cannabis business licensing process. For further information about cannabis licensing in New York state, you can also visit or call the SBS hotline at 888-SBS-4NYC (888-727-4692). 

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