New York City Launches Program for Cannabis Social Equity Applicants

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) launched Cannabis NYC this week, which will provide services and licensing assistance to the city’s cannabis social equity applicants.

Full story after the jump.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) on Monday launched Cannabis NYC, a program designed to support social equity in the city’s cannabis industry. The program will be housed in the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and will include technical assistance, licensing for individuals most impacted by the previous enforcement of cannabis laws, and a “suite of services.” 

“Today, we light up our economy and launch Cannabis NYC – a first-of-its-kind initiative to support equitable growth of the cannabis industry in New York City. The regulated adult-use cannabis industry is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our underserved communities that have, for too long, faced disproportionate rates of drug-related incarceration to get in on the industry on the ground floor. Cannabis NYC will plant the seeds for the economy of tomorrow by helping New Yorkers apply for licenses and understand how to open and successfully run a business, while simultaneously rolling equity into our economy by giving those who have been justice-involved and those with a cannabis conviction a chance to succeed. This is about creating good jobs, successful small businesses, and finally delivering equity to communities harmed by the ‘War on Drugs.’” — Adams in a press release 

The state Office of Cannabis Management is expected to begin accepting retail dispensary applications over the next month for social equity applicants in the state, including qualifying businesses owned by justice-involved individuals or their parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or dependent.  

In New York City, cannabis sales are expected to reach $1.3 billion in sales by 2023, with between 19,000-24,000 jobs created over the next three years, according to the Mayor’s Office.

In April, Adams said he would like cannabis to be grown on the rooftops of New York City Housing Authority-run buildings – a plan that would likely receive pushback from the federal government, which subsidizes more than half of NYCHA revenues through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He also included $4.8 million in his Fiscal Year 2023 Executive Budget for cannabis businesses, including funds for technical and licensing assistance.  

And while he has urged no “heavy-handedness” in the enforcement of gifting or unlicensed cannabis sales in the city while the state moves toward regulated sales, the New York City Police Department last week said it had impounded 19 vehicles for selling cannabis without a permit in Times Square.  

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