Regulation Update: NY Expands Recreational Marijuana Access

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Live from the Hemp Heals Foundation Newsroom, welcome back to another enlightening segment, everyone. Your cannabis insider here, bringing you the latest buzz from the heart of New York's ever-evolving cannabis market. Today’s headlines are bound to evoke some strong reactions, so brace yourselves. Word on the street? New York's green industry is teetering on the brink of uncharted territory. For all my seasoned cannabis connoisseurs tuning in – you might want to prepare a little roll-up to vibe with as we dive deep. Details coming your way.

NYS Broadens Access: All Can Now Apply For Adult-Use Cannabis Licenses

Only a few moons ago, New York’s cannabis horizon shimmered with promise. With the Cannabis Control Board at the helm, regulations seemed to be shaping up for an equitable market where safety and fairness led the charge. The blueprint? Prioritize those bearing the brunt of the War on Drugs, communities marginalized for far too long. Minority and women-owned enterprises, our struggling farmers, and businesses owned by service-disabled vets were all set to be front and center in the race for New York’s coveted CAURD licenses.

But as we’ve come to learn in this city, not everything's as it seems. Dissent bubbled up from the very communities the program aimed to uplift. Four battle-hardened vets took their concerns to court, demanding transparency on the Office of Cannabis Management's rollout of the social equity program.

The plot thickens: Enter Supreme Court Justice Kevin Bryant. With the swing of his gavel, all cannabis licensing in NY screeched to a halt. And this, just as CAURD retailers were about to open shop. The drama doesn't stop there. In a bold move, the Cannabis Control Board announced on September 12, 2023 that they're throwing open the gates to the Empire State's cannabis dreams, everyones welcomed. Come October 4th, New Yorkers looking to plant their stake in the cannabis game can apply for cultivation, processing, distributing, micro business and retail dispensary licenses through the New York Business Express (NYBE) platform. Gone is the clause of needing a prior marijuana conviction – a key aspect of the CAURD program, now entangled in legalities.

Legacy Cannabis Players in NY Eye Potential Lawsuit

Imagine pouring months of hard work into cultivating prime cannabis crops only to see them wither away. That's the grim reality many New York farmers are facing. But it isn't just the cultivators. Those eagerly prepping to welcome enthusiasts into their CAURD-certified retail havens are facing daunting financial setbacks. With sizable investments already made, they're caught in the crosshairs of legislative gridlock, with bank accounts diving deep into the red.

Take Coss Marte, for instance. A Lower East Side native, Marte put his chips on the table, fronting a cool $420,000 deposit for a prime spot at 85 Delancey St. Starting October, that investment translates to a monthly rent commitment of $38,000. Now, for someone like Marte, who’s seen the inside of a prison cell for six years on marijuana charges, stepping into the legal side of cannabis sales was more than business; it was redemption. It was the epitome of turning a page, a narrative shift from the blocks of LES to the legal storefronts of the same streets. Yet, today, he joins a growing list of entrepreneurs statewide, tethered in uncertainty thanks to last month's injunction.

Such tales show us the human side of policy decisions. It’s more than just numbers and licenses. It’s dreams, aspirations, and livelihoods.

The Community Speaks:

I’m going to be forced to probably sue the state if I can’t open up before October, @Coss Marte said in an interview last week. Now, I’m in a nightmare.
I have 500-plus pounds sitting and rotting right now. @Jeanette Miller Co-chair of the Cannabis Farmers Alliance
We have lost millions of dollars. We have done everything right and I can’t feed my children. @Tess Interlicchia Steuben County Farmer
It’s been a year — a year of financial devastation. @Christine Richardson A Conditional License Holder

The OCM Responds:

The Office anticipates a lot of excitement and interest in these applications, and we are committed to providing as much information as possible regarding an applicant will need to prepare in order to apply. @OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander

Keep a Pulse on NY Cannabis: Sign Up for Updates

As the curtain rises on the next act of New York's cannabis theatre, the legacy pioneers, who've navigated the alleys and avenues of the industry, feel a sense of betrayal. Feeling gaslighted by the Office of Cannabis Management, they're not just battling bureaucratic red tape. A formidable opponent lurks in the wings - the might of corporate cannabis. These giants, with their coffers and connections, are poised to swoop in come October 4, 2023.

But here's where it gets interesting: The street's pulse tells a different story. The loyal cannabis aficionados, the heartbeat of the market, are casting discerning eyes on the unfolding scene. Their loyalty isn't swayed by shiny storefronts or the allure of legal convenience. They've built relationships with the OGs of the cannabis game. Trust, it seems, trumps all.

Want to stay in the loop as this green drama unfolds? Hit that subscribe button. And if you've got some two cents or a full dollar's worth to add, slide into our DM. We'll be back with updates. Till then, stay lifted and informed.


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