New York’s legal marijuana retail club is about to increase by five, state regulators announced on Monday. Three new legal cannabis shops are slated it open in New York City and two more upstate.
That will bring the total number of operational cannabis retailers to 27 storefront shops, including one that had been delivery-only until now, according to a spokesman for the state Office of Cannabis Management.
It’s an incremental rollout of 463 licensed retailers in the Empire State, thanks largely to a preliminary injunction in August that halted the permitting process for conditional adult use retail dispensaries (CAURD), but the judge in the case recently granted exemptions for the five licensees to open because they proved they had been ready as of Aug. 7.
Those exemptions allowed Elevate ADK in Saranac Lake and Air City Cannabis in Rome to open for business this past Friday, the OCM said in a news release. Air City Cannabis is the former delivery-only business.
Three more dispensaries are primed to open this week, including:
- Terp Bros in Astoria, Queens, on Tuesday
- Gotham Buds in Harlem, New York City, on Wednesday
- ConBud in Manhattan, New York City, on Thursday
“From Saranac Lake to Astoria, New York’s cannabis market is growing. It is wonderful to celebrate store openings across the state,” Tremaine Wright, chairwoman of the New York Cannabis Control Board, said in a statement, adding that the industry is “being led by entrepreneurs who imbue the values” of the 2021 state law that legalized marijuana and prioritized social equity.
The owners of the five retailers all also rejoiced.
“It feels like a dream evolved,” said Jeffrey Lopes, one of the owners of Gotham Buds. “This dispensary is more than business – it’s the creation of our legacy in an industry where we’re carving new paths.”
“It’s been one hell of a road to get here, but just like cannabis, we’re here for good,” said Coss Marte, the owner of ConBud.
The judge who issued the injunction is likely to consider and approve more exemptions, parties to the legal case previously predicted to Green Market Report, but it’s unclear when that may happen. The OCM in August suggested that 30 CAURDs should be allowed to open despite the injunction, but the question has ping-ponged back and forth between regulators and the court.
Meanwhile, the broader application window for cannabis business licenses opened on Oct. 4 and will remain open until Dec. 4. Although that is expected to add up to a thousand more cannabis retail licenses to the New York market, those may not open until next year sometime.