And then there were eight.
After a lightning-quick meeting on Friday afternoon of the New York Cannabis Control Board (CCB) – which lasted less than five minutes – its three present members voted unanimously to approve the transition of two more marijuana multitstate operators to the recreational market from the medical, bringing the total number of MSO’s transitioning to eight.
Fiorello Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is owned by Green Thumb Industries (CSE: GTII) (OTC: GTBIF), and Citiva Medical LLC, which is owned by iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc. (CSE: IAN) (OTCQB: ITHUF) were both granted permission to begin recreational cannabis operations immediately.
“Your approval will allow them to begin cultivating and processing on the adult use side, as well as opening dispensaries,” said Chris Alexander, the executive director of the OCM told the board during its brief gathering before it voted and adjourned.
Fiorello has medical dispensaries doing business as “FP Wellness” or “Rise” in Manhattan, Long Beach, Rochester and Half Moon, according to the state Office of Cannabis Management website. Citiva has medical dispensaries doing business as “Be” in Brooklyn, Wappingers Falls, Staten Island and Ithaca.
A spokesperson for GTI said in a statement to Green Market Report on Friday that it would commence adult-use sales at its Rochester shop “later today.” That would bring the total number of operational recreational cannabis shops in New York to at least 47.
In a separate press release, the OCM announced Friday afternoon that the number of operational recreational dispensaries had risen to 49, not including GTI’s Rochester location.
Aside from GTI’s one retail addition, it’s not clear which other medical dispensaries run by the MSO’s will be switched into dual recreational-medical shops. The companies can choose up to three each.
The CCB meeting Friday – an abnormally short one – followed a somewhat surprise outcome at a last-minute meeting held Dec. 29, when the board split on a 2-2 vote regarding the same exact question of permission for GTI and iAnthus. That vote delayed the adult-use market entry of GTI and iAnthus until now.
A GTI spokesperson celebrated the vote Friday in an email to Green Market Report, calling it “historic.”
“We will be transitioning our RISE Dispensary in Henrietta to serve adult-use customers in addition to our medical patients later today, making us one of only two licensed adult-use dispensaries in the Rochester area,” the spokesperson wrote. “We are excited to celebrate this milestone with the community with a grand opening event and other activities in the coming weeks, and bring more well-being to the people of the Empire State.”
Spokespeople for iAnthus and Citiva did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.
GTI and iAnthus now join the other six MSO’s that have gotten permission to transition into the recreational marijuana market in New York: Columbia Care/The Cannabist Co. (NEO: CCHW) (OTCQX: CCHWF), Curaleaf (CSE: CURA) (OTCQX: CURLF), Riv Capital (CSE: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF), Cresco Labs (CSE: CL) (OTCQX: CRLBF), Acreage Holdings (CSE: ACRG.A.U) (OTCQX: ACRHF) and privately-held PharmaCann.
Combined, the eight could eventually operate as many as 24 recreational cannabis shops statewide.
Although the first six MSOs were all allowed to begin retail operations on Dec. 29, as of last week only PharmaCann had done so.
Some of the MSO’s indicated their intent to launch wholesale sales immediately, but were hedging on when they would begin direct adult-use retail sales to consumers, given that to do so requires a $5 million license fee to the OCM.
Two other MSO’s that hold medical marijuana licenses in New York – MedMen Enterprises Inc. (CSE: MMEN) (OTCQX: MMNFF) and Vireo Health International, which does business as Goodness Growth Holdings (CSE: GDNS) (OTCQX: GDNSF) – are also eligible for recreational marijuana business permits, but it’s not clear if either has yet applied for the adult-use transition.