On March 10, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the first-in-the-nation Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which will position individuals with prior cannabis-related criminal offenses to make the first adult-use cannabis sales of New York-grown products. This farm-to-store initiative makes sales in New York possible before the end of 2022. This initiative is expected to jumpstart New York’s cannabis industry, helping to guarantee support for future social equity applicants, and securing an early investment into communities most impacted by the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition.
At the March 10, 2022 Cannabis Control Board (CCB) meeting, two components of the Seeding Opportunity Initiative were further discussed:
1) As part of the Seeding Opportunity Initiative, this subset of dispensaries must be owned by equity-entrepreneurs with a prior cannabis-related criminal offense who also have a background owning and operating a small business. They will be the first to open and make legal sales in New York State, establishing equity-owned businesses at the front-end of New York’s adult-use market.
2) The CCB approved a license application (Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License ) for hemp farmers seeking to grow adult-use cannabis this spring. The CCB designated March 15 as the opening date for the application portal.
Here is a summary of The Seeding Opportunity Initiative which is comprised of three sub-programs:
- Equity Owners Lead Program: Provides a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License to eligible equity-entrepreneur applicants prior to opening the adult-use market for all. This first-round, equity-licensing opportunity will be supported with renovated or renovation-ready retail locations and wraparound services with dispensaries sited in high-traffic areas. Applications for these priority licenses will open in the Summer of 2022.
- Farmers First Program: Provides an Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License to eligible New York cannabinoid hemp farmers, giving them the first chance to grow cannabis for New York’s adult-use market. Farmers must adhere to quality assurance, health, and safety requirements developed by the OCM. They must also take part in sustainability and equity mentorship programs that will help build the first generation of equity cannabis owners across the entire supply chain. These conditional licenses make it possible for farmers to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season. The application for the Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License portal is expected to open March 15.
- The New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Program: Industry licensing fees and private equity would support the development of dispensary facilities for equity-entrepreneurs with a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License. Under the proposal, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) would provide support with its leasing and construction services to site dispensaries at prime locations by renovating the locations to meet health, safety, and security requirements. The Social Equity Cannabis Investment Program’s funding and accompanying services would reduce barriers to entry and position these equity-entrepreneur owners for long-term success. The proposal remains under discussion with the Legislature.
For more information on the Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License please visit here.
This is not intended to be legal advice. You should contact an attorney to discuss your specific situation.