New York Names First Adult Use Cannabis License Holders

Nonprofits are the first license winners.

The Office of Cannabis Management published its list of adult-use license winners with non-profits leading the way. The list doesn’t actually name the applicants but instead uses the application number.

The Cannabis Control Board is scheduled to vote today for the license winners even as a legal challenge works its way through the courts. Over 900 applicants submitted the paperwork for the licenses, which was far less than the OCM had hoped for. At least three New York City-based nonprofits Housing WorksThe Doe Fund, and LIFE Camp confirmed they had been chosen.

Confirmed Nonprofits

The nonprofit Housing Works was created to help people who are homeless and living with HIV and AIDS and was seen as a likely winner within the cannabis community. With an already existing chain of storefronts, the group could quickly begin operations and that would help the OCM meet its goal of having some sales before the end of the year.  The group said in a statement that it was “honored” to be considered for a license, adding that having one would help “further our mission of ending the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness.”

Erica Ford founded the nonprofit LIFE Camp in 2002 to help reduce violence and arrests in Southeast Queens. According to The New York Times, the group confirmed it was approved. If so that would make it the first Black woman-led nonprofit to receive a license. The company’s website states that “LIFE Camp provides youth and families that have been impacted by violence the valuable tools they need to stay in school and out of the criminal justice system.” Ford said, “We want to hold the cannabis board and all of those involved in this industry to the ground of honesty.”

The Doe Fund states on its website that it has over 1,000 units of permanent affordable and supportive housing in operation and development at 11 residences for special needs populations including veterans, families, and individuals with disabilities, mental illnesses, and HIV/AIDS.

Draft Regulations

Regulators also released 282 pages of draft regulations outlining the program. According to The New York Times, the draft regulations define the fees and timelines for several other license types, including cooperatives and more retail, as well as conditions for the state’s medical cannabis providers to enter the recreational market. The public will have 60 days to comment, which makes the situation most confusing. As the OCM pushes to get some sales happening before the end of the year, it won’t actually have a written program in place before the end of the year. Guidelines governing delivery services were not included, and regulators said they would become available at a later date.

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.


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