A breakthrough could be only weeks away as CAURD dispensary hopefuls could be approved for their recreational cannabis licenses at any time according to a top regulator. More information and potential approval are expected to be made available during the upcoming Cannabis Control Board (CCB) meeting on November 21st. Axel Bernabe of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) said this during the Business of Cannabis conference on Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses.
150 CAURD Dispensaries to Open in 2022:
Axel who is the chief of staff for the Office of Cannabis Management revealed that his agency has scored the applications and will recommend approval for the top-of-class applicants. New York appears to be on track to open the first storefronts owned by social justice individuals this year.
According to Tremaine Wright “There will be stores open before the end of the year,” she said. “We will keep opening until 150 are open across the state.”
OCM Guidance for Recreational Cannabis Dispensaries:
This document will provide instructions on how to operate their dispensaries before cannabis regulations are adopted officially.
Axel Bernabe expects the state to have a fully established supply chain built on social equity in the next 15 months that will be built upon in the future. During the one-month application window, 903 businesses completed and submitted their CAURD forms. We’re not sure how many of the 150 applicants will be chosen these 903 at the November 21st meeting but the 150 retail stores will be chosen before the application pool is expanded.
Timeline for CAURD New York Cannabis Retail Dispensaries & Expanded Criteria:
The timeline is dependent on the Dormitory Authority of New York (DSANY) designing/building the licensee’s storefronts.
New York regulators have expanded the “Justice-Involved” definition to also include those arrested for cannabis but were convicted for a lesser offense. Those who receive the CAURD licenses (excluding non-profits) will have access to the $200 million Social Equity Cannabis Fund and DASNY-approved storefronts. The non-profits will need to secure their own DASNY-approved retail stores.
Cannabis NYC Initiative & CCB Approval of Recreational Processor Licenses:
The Cannabis NYC initiative will help would-be dispensary operators complete the licensing process and connect them with technical assistance, and other no-cost support services. The first round of recreational cannabis processor licenses was also completed by the CCB in August. Regulators have also recently voted to add home-growing rules for medical cannabis patients along with another round of processing and cultivating applications.
Office of Cannabis Management Enforcement Targets:
- Adults 21 and older can possess and publicly consume cannabis, as well as gift marijuana to other adults as long as they aren’t being compensated.
- In June, CCB also approved a series of proposed rulesfor marijuana packaging, labeling, advertising, and testing requirements.
- Meanwhile, New York lawmakers recently sent a budget proposal to the governor’s desk that includes provisions to let marijuana businesses take state tax deductionsthat are available to other industries despite an ongoing federal ban on cannabis. That was signed into law.
- Jeremy Cooney (D) filed a standalone bill in Decemberseeking a similar carve-out for the state’s burgeoning cannabis market. Assemblymember Donna Lupardo (D) followed suit in her chamber. Cooney also filed a bill in May to allow regulators to disclose certain information about cannabis licensees to financial institutions to promote marijuana banking.
Governor Hochul said that despite cannabis business licenses not being approved yet since legalization was signed into law last year, the market stands to generate billions of dollars and significantly aid those from historically marginalized communities. The CCB has been showcasing the cannabis PSA campaign since last July and the department is requesting social media allow the government public education ads surrounding cannabis education.
CAURD Selection Criteria
The selected applications for a CAURD license will be those with the highest scores. Scores will be based on the strength of the qualifying business criteria. It is not clear yet the exact scoring matrix. However, some factors will influence applicants to receive a higher score. For example, marijuana-related convictions in areas impacted by over-policing or mass incarceration may receive a higher score.
Applicants will select their top five regional preferences for a dispensary location broken down as follows: Bronx, Brooklyn, Capital Region, Central NY, Finger Lakes, Long Island, Manhattan, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Queens, Richmond, Southern Tier, and Western NY. The top-scoring applicants in each region will be selected to move forward and will be assigned a dispensary location provided through the New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund.
What Happens After?
Following the application cycle selected applicants will have twelve months to complete the remaining application requirements in order to obtain final approval. Additional documents include submitting fingerprints and notifying the local municipality among others.
Are you ready? Consult with knowledgeable industry experts with a proven track record of success to ensure your application has the strength in what will undoubtedly be a competitive market.