The New York Cannabis Control Board nearly doubled the number of licensed retailers to date during its Wednesday meeting with the approval of 30 new licenses. That brings the statewide total of locations approved so far to 66, with more still on the way.
“This is going to be the year of us moving fast,” CCB Chairwoman Tremaine Wright said.
There are already additional locations slated to open within the next month-and-a-half in Manhattan, Queens, Ithaca, and Albany, said Board Member Reuben McDaniel III, adding to the two that are already operational as part of the conditional adult-use retail dispensary (CAURD) program.
“The next 45 days, you’ll see these soft openings rolling out. We’ll roll them out as quickly as possible,” McDaniel said, after celebrating the second New York retail shop opening on Tuesday in Greenwich Village, when Smacked began serving customers. The first store that launched is run by the nonprofit Housing Works, which opened Dec. 29.
The list of 30 new licensees includes eight in Manhattan, six in Long Island, four in Queens, four in the Bronx, three in the Capital Region, two in the North Country Region, and one apiece in the Central New York Region, the Mohawk Valley, and the Southern Tier. Of the 30, two permits are for nonprofits and the other 28 are for social equity candidates.
Congratulations to all those approved! pic.twitter.com/26JvWmOF7O
— NYS Office of Cannabis Management (@nys_cannabis) January 25, 2023
The CCB also approved another conditional processor, bringing the total number of processor licenses to 40, and another five testing labs, bringing the total number of labs to 12. No new cultivation permits were issued during the Wednesday meeting.
Board Member Adam Perry also noted that the CCB would have preferred to award even more CAURD retail licenses, but it has been prevented from doing so in five specific regions by ongoing litigation. The court case – in which an injunction has prohibited the CCB from awarding retail permits in Brooklyn – is still ongoing, and the outcome is very much uncertain.
“The OCM is not able to recommend to the board granting of licenses in upstate places under the court case. We want to do those. The office has reviewed and scored them. But we can’t give them out until the legal issue is resolved,” Perry said.
The CCB previously said that it’s been prevented from awarding at least 18 retail licenses for approved applicants in the affected jurisdictions.
McDaniel added that the OCM and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) are still reviewing possible retail locations for lease signings on behalf of CAURD licensees in the five regions, even while the state awaits the outcome of the court case.
“Once the injunction is lifted, whenever that is, we’ll be ready to sign leases on locations,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel also said that as the CCB and DASNY have been working on securing real estate for retail licensees, it’s become clear that there are many applicants who have resources of their own to spend on locations, which led him to suggest an increase in the number of CAURD retail licenses available during the first round, which is capped at 150 for social equity individuals and 25 for nonprofits.
“We may want to go beyond 150. I think there’s the opportunity for us to find licensees who have resources of their own,” McDaniel said to applause from meeting attendees.