New York OCM postpones meeting, angering many

With little notice, the New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) decided to cancel the meeting it had planned for Jan. 24.

“The Cannabis Control Board (CCB) has decided to postpone the meeting to finalize review of adult-use license applications currently under consideration for approval by the board. While we have a batch of licenses ready for approval, there are many more we want to get across the finish line to jumpstart New York’s cannabis market in 2024. After months of licenses being held up by lawsuits from corporate interests, OCM is working hard to process this major backlog of applications—we want to ensure the issuance of as many licenses as possible, as soon as possible. Additionally, we look forward to picking up the conversation around adult-use licenses, and several key agenda items including research, homegrow regulations, and more again in February. Please stay tuned for more updates to come.”

The anger spilling out on the social media platform X was evident.

Dagster007 @dagster007 wrote:

Abolish the #NYCCB, or install new members. This board has ZERO interest in serving the public. Advancing licenses are jobs done at the office level, not at the executive level. Time to stop hiding behind your ivory tower and speak with those you are supposed to be helping.

Vibeking888 @vibeking888 wrote:

Couldn’t they have simply approved what they could and approved more in February? What is going on at OCM HQ today

Veterans Choice Creations @VCC420 wrote:

They are all over the place. They say they have apps ready to approve but they also said your order of review had no bearing on the approval. This tells me that injunction is probably coming in Friday and rather announce these licenses then get injunction slapped they cancelled

Consultant Joe Rossi at Park Strategies, the firm’s cannabis practice group leader, also posted a screenshot of the CCB agenda for Jan. 24 that had been put on the agency website prior to being removed. The shot showed that the board was slated to approve just five cultivators, two microbusinesses, three processors and three retailers. That’s a relatively slow start to the 250 retailers and 110 microbusinesses that OCM officials said last week was their goal from the most recent application window.

Rossi criticized the agency for the last-minute cancelation, and said he knew of stakeholders who had driven hours to attend, only to find out on Wednesday morning there would be no meeting. Rossi also said he believes it was Gov. Kathy Hochul who had actually called the CCB meeting off, but said he had no idea what the governor’s reasoning was.

“I don’t know how they can cancel a meeting the night before without solid justification and explanation. I’m dumbfounded,” Rossi said.

Rossi speculated that the delay may have something to do with the OCM being aware that there’s more litigation on the way targeting the agency and its licensing practices.

“There’s … lawsuits being drafted as we speak, on how this process is different than when they originally applied,” Rossi said. “They may have caught wind of that.”

Rossi also noted that the randomized queue of retail applicants that the OCM released this month also needs fixing, since it replicates many of the conditional adult use retail dispensary (CAURD) permits that were handed out last year.

“Buds R Us is on there 10 times,” Rossi pointed out, noting that each retailer is only allowed a single license.

The New York program has faced numerous issues including multiple lawsuits and a proliferation of unlicensed operations.

Green Market Report has also written that some licensed operators are not paying their bills. This was another key aspect of the New York program – avoiding an avalanche of unpaid bills that threatened the licensed market. Now it seems the OCM is so overwhelmed with applications, it can’t police the existing license holders regulatory requirements.

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.


2 comments

  • Kevin

    January 24, 2024 at 10:49 am

    It’s true this is not right. I’m a disabled vet paying rent on a legitimate spot which is what the OCM told me to get right? A LEASE a lease means you’re paying for the spot. I was duped into think I had special priority but it seems like if you had a spot you’re in. 250 retail is not enough and we need answers NOW

    Reply

  • James

    January 24, 2024 at 6:15 pm

    This really is getting crazy, 1000’s of illegal cannabis shops throughout this state. Give the 1000 legal shops licenses now and use the tax revenue to close all the illegal ones no brainer. And they’ll get some money outta the places while shutting them down. Wake up you deny over 1000 legitimate applications that are holding a lease l, what do you think they’re gonna turn that store into to recoup all the money spent to get to this point? Hopes and dreams getting shattered even landing under 1000 in the que. take care of the priority people like promised..

    Reply

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