New York Opens Cannabis Retail Licenses for Social Equity Applicants

New York has opened the application process for conditional social equity retail licenses and nonprofit organizations that assist justice-involved individuals. 

Full story after the jump.

New York on Thursday opened applications for conditional cannabis retail licenses exclusively to social equity applicants and nonprofit organizations that assist justice-involved individuals. 

According to the application website, eligible individuals or entities must have a significant presence in the state; the business must be majority-owned or controlled by “a justice-involved person (or people) with qualifying business ownership experience;” all applicants and board members must be 21-years-old, and everyone involved must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Eligible nonprofits must have a significant presence in the state; be recognized as a legitimate nonprofit under federal law; must work with “current or formerly incarcerated individuals, including justice-involved individuals and communities with historically high rates of arrest, conviction, incarceration or other indicators of law enforcement activity” for cannabis-related offenses; show a “history of creating vocational opportunities for current or formerly incarcerated individuals, including justice-involved individuals;” have at least five full-time employees; have operated and managed a profitable social enterprise for at least two years; and all applicants and board members must be 21.

Damian Fagon, the chief equity officer for the state Office of Cannabis Management, told LoHud that state regulators are “not hiding from the dark history that has plagued” the state, but rather “shining a light on it and moving forward together.”

The office will issue 150 dispensary licenses and those businesses will receive support via a $200 million fund to help with identifying locations and running the business. Applicants must pay a nonrefundable $2,000 fee and indicate five of New York’s 14 regions they prefer to operate the business.  

Retail dispensaries are set to open by the end of the year and will be stocked with cannabis grown by one of the 220 farms that received conditional cultivation licenses earlier this year.

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