New York Opens Adult-Use Retail Application

OCM said that it would distribute up to 150 conditional adult-use retail dispensary permits.

New York’s Office of Cannabis Management is now accepting applications for those directly affected by the war on drugs in a first-round distribution of state adult-use retail licenses.

OCM said that it would distribute up to 150 conditional adult-use retail dispensary (CAURD) permits as it rolls out the program, with most of those to be issued in Brooklyn, Long Island and Manhattan.

Region Commuter-Adjusted Population Population Distribution Max. No. of Qualifying Business CAURD Licenses
Brooklyn​ 2,852,632 ​ 12.3%​ 19 ​
Capital Region​ 1,145,370 ​ 5.0%​ 7 ​
Central New York​ 1,093,219 ​ 4.7%​ 7 ​
Finger Lakes​ 1,383,303 ​ 6.0%​ 9 ​
Long Island​ 3,110,067 ​ 13.4%​ 20 ​
Manhattan​ 3,375,059 ​ 14.6%​ 22 ​
Mid-Hudson​ 2,603,489 ​ 11.3%​ 17 ​
Mohawk Valley​ 281,983 ​ 1.2%​ 2 ​
North Country​ 586,426 ​ 2.5%​ 4 ​
Queens​ 2,525,120 ​ 10.9%​ 16 ​
Southern Tier​ 480,753 ​ 2.1%​ 3 ​
Staten Island​ 500,926 ​ 2.2%​ 3 ​
The Bronx​ 1,565,988 ​ 6.8%​ 10 ​
Western New York​ 1,622,461 ​ 7.0%​ 11 ​

“The CAURD applications will be reviewed on a regional basis, and the sequence of regional review will depend, in part, on the total number of CAURD applications in each region,” OCM spokesperson Aaron Ghitelman told Syracuse.com.

To qualify for a CAURD license, an applicant must have been arrested in New York for a cannabis offense or have a family member who was before March 31, 2021.

Those who can provide evidence that they – or their spouse, child, legal guardian or dependent – were arrested for a cannabis-related offense are considered justice-involved even if they were ultimately convicted of a lesser offense, such as non-drug offense, violation or misdemeanor.

Additionally, the majority of the retail dispensary business must be owned and controlled by a justice-involved person or people with qualifying business ownership experience.

All applicants must be 21 years of age, including board members.

Dormitory Authority of the State of New York has been working with real estate brokerage CBRE Group to identify and secure retail leases to build out dispensary spaces for the program.

In addition to the 150 licenses, the framework also permits an extra 25 licenses for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit applicants will not have access to the DASNY properties or the state’s $200 million social equity cannabis investment fund.

“These dispensaries will help create further job opportunities for justice-involved individuals while their operations will support the important work the nonprofit organizations are already doing across New York state,” Ghitelman said.

The OCM application guidelines described eligible nonprofits as those that:

  • Have intentionally served current or formerly incarcerated individuals, including justice-involved individuals and communities with historically high rates of arrest, conviction, incarceration or other indicators of law enforcement activity for cannabis-related offenses.
  • Have a history of creating vocational opportunities for current or formerly incarcerated individuals, including justice-involved individuals.
  • Have operated and managed a profitable social enterprise for two or more years.
  • Have sole control over the applicant, as defined by having the power to order or direct the policies, management, and managers of the business.
  • Have a significant presence in New York state.
  • Have been recognized as an entity pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Have at least five full-time employees.
  • Are 21 years of age, including all board members.

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson covers the cannabis industry for The Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri statehouse for The Columbia Missourian and has written for The Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants, and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.


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