The New York cannabis industry plans to prioritize those who’ve been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.
On Thursday, the city’s cannabis regulators approved rules that make it possible to start accepting retail applications from injured parties.
BREAKING: Cannabis Control Board just approved the regulations & application for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary licenses, advancing the Seeding Opportunity Initiative.
NY’s 1st cannabis dispensaries will be owned by those harmed by the overcriminalization of cannabis.
— NYS Office of Cannabis Management (@nys_cannabis) July 14, 2022
The regulations explain that, in order to qualify, applicants must have experience operating a qualifying business and must have faced a conviction for a drug-related offense before the state legalized marijuana. Applicants can also qualify for a conditional adult-use marijuana retail license if they have a close family member that was convicted with a drug-related offense.
While good intentioned, these regulations have been criticized in the past due to how limiting they might end up being. A person that’s been impacted by the war on drugs may have had encounters with the law in the past, something that makes it difficult for them to also have experience managing and running a business.
New York legalized marijuana on March 31 2021, and has been working on how to implement it fairly and profitably over the past year. While it’s legal to consume marijuana and possess up to three ounces of cannabis, the sale remains illegal, a topic that has created some confusion in the state, especially since new businesses continue to appear in the form of trucks, pop ups and brick and mortar, taking advantage of the marijuana boom.
Responsible authorities have tried to control these businesses by sending out cease and desist letters while still trying to keep the police uninvolved.
“Sale of untested products put lives at risk,” said Tremain Wright, chair of New York’s Cannabis Control Board. “I implore these illegal store operators, and any other stores pretending to be legal operations, to stop selling cannabis products immediately.”