New York marijuana regulators on Monday awarded another 99 conditional adult use retail dispensary permits to applicants, bringing the total of marijuana shop permits awarded to 165. This was the first batch of retail permits issued since January and the third round overall.
“This might be one of the happiest meetings we’re having all year. Little bit of joy in this room. This is nice,” Cannabis Control Board Chairwoman Tremaine Wright remarked during the Monday meeting, which was marked by outbursts of applause and cheering for license winners and their families.
The winners included 13 applicants from Brooklyn, Central New York, Western New York, and the Mid-Hudson regions following a federal appellate court ruling last week that allowed the board to proceed with licensing in every region except the Finger Lakes.
The regional CAURD permit breakdown from Monday’s meeting:
- Nine in the Bronx
- Three in Brooklyn
- Five in the Capital Region
- One in the Central Region
- Twenty three in Long Island
- Twenty one in Manhattan
- Five in the Mid-Hudson Region
- Two in the Mohawk Valley
- Four in the North Country Region
- Seventeen in Queens
- Three in Staten Island
- Four in the Western Region
So far there only a handful of licensed adult-use cannabis shops are open in New York, contrasted with an estimated 1,500 or so illicit stores. Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander said that fact has not been lost on his agency, and he said Monday that cracking down on the unregulated cannabis trade remains a top priority for regulators. Alexander emphasized the “need for additional enforcement” against illicit cannabis actors.
“We have been working constantly across the state that the continued operation of these illicit shops comes to a close,” Alexander said. “The governor in the last two weeks announced a new effort to give us some additional authority, some additional powers, to conduct that enforcement. We will continue to make enforcement a priority. We understand that in order for you all to be successful, we must tamp down that effort, that activity, and that remains a key priority for this office.”
The board on Monday also signed off on a lab testing permit for Certainty Analytical Labs in Rochester, which will bring the total number of cannabis testing labs in New York to 13.
Emergency industry regulations that were set to expire April 6 were also extended for another 120 days by the Cannabis Control Board at its Monday meeting, giving the agency time to keep working on the rules.
The OCM’s director of policy, John Kagia, told the board members that revised recreational marijuana industry rules will be presented to the CCB at its next meeting on May 11, and as long as the revised rules are approved, they’ll then go back to one more 45-day public comment period.
“The goal here is to very expeditiously adopt the final adult-use regulations so the (OCM) can open the application period for adult-use licenses by the end of the year,” Kagia said.
Kagia also said the OCM will be ramping up its “Why Buy Legal” campaign, aimed at convincing cannabis consumers over the age of 21 why they should buy legal and licensed marijuana instead of cheaper weed from the underground market.