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Mayor Adams' New Cannabis Initiative Aims to Light Up, Bring Equity to the Industry

The first phase of Cannabis NYC will focus on ensuring that justice involved New Yorkers are able to apply for and secure retail licenses.
New York City Mayor Ian Adams announces the launch of a first-of-its-kind initiative that will grow the local cannabis industry.

New York City is launching a first-of-its-kind initiative to grow the local cannabis industry.

“Today, we light up our economy and launch Cannabis NYC — a first-of-its-kind initiative to support equitable growth of the cannabis industry in New York City,” said N.Y.C. Mayor Ian Adams.

Housed at SBS, Cannabis NYC will support cannabis entrepreneurs and their workers as the industry develops.

“Cannabis NYC will plant the seeds for the economy of tomorrow by helping New Yorkers apply for licenses and understand how to open and successfully run a business, while simultaneously rolling equity into our economy by giving those who have been justice-involved and those with a cannabis conviction a chance to succeed,” Adams said.

The initiative will work with stakeholders to create jobs and small businesses, while also addressing the harms of cannabis prohibition.

Cannabis NYC services will include the city’s first-ever technical assistance for cannabis license applicants.

“This [initiative] is about creating good jobs, successful small businesses, and finally delivering equity to communities harmed by the ‘War on Drugs’,” Adams continued.

The first phase of Cannabis NYC will focus on ensuring that justice involved New Yorkers are able to apply for and secure retail licenses from the state.

“The regulated adult-use cannabis industry is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our underserved communities that have, for too long, faced disproportionate rates of drug-related incarceration to get in on the industry on the ground floor,” said Adams.

As legal cannabis businesses open their doors, the initiative will expand to include a suite of support services, networking opportunities and efforts to establish Cannabis NYC as a global brand.

The city is also exploring how to connect entrepreneurs who may struggle to access traditional business capital with financial support.

Today’s announcement comes ahead of the opening of the state’s first-ever cannabis retail dispensary license application later this week.

The new initiative is also a key pillar of Adams’ Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery.

“When New York legalized marijuana, we wanted to do it right. The long-awaited rollout of our restorative and community justice-based cannabis licensing program will prioritize communities of color and help fund public schools,” said New York State Senator Brad Hoylman.

“I look forward to all marijuana sold in our state being legal and properly licensed, come from New York growers, and taxed accordingly,” Hoylman continued.

The expected size of N.Y.C.’s emerging regulated adult-use cannabis will be historic, with estimates of up to $1.3 billion in sales by 2023, and between 19,000 to 24,000 jobs created over the next three years.

Application Period

Over the next month, New York State’s Office of Cannabis Management will accept applications for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses to be distributed to qualifying businesses owned by justice-involved individuals or their parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or dependent.

CAURD licensees will be positioned to be the first legal cannabis retailers open in the state, setting an equitable foundation for the adult-use cannabis market from the outset.

To advance the state’s ambitious equity goals and help New Yorkers interested in applying for CAURD licenses, Cannabis NYC will provide:

  • Application Support: Answer questions about CAURD application requirements, hold educational webinars, and work with license applicants to complete the application during the month-long application period from Aug. 25 to Sept. 26, 2022.
  • Support Beyond the License: Connect aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs to no-cost services, along with technical assistance, to support successful businesses.
  • Long-Term Industry Support: Expand programming as the industry grows to connect New Yorkers to good jobs and build strong businesses in the cannabis industry, as well as ancillary industries that do not “touch the plant.”

New Yorkers can learn more about Cannabis NYC online or by calling 888-SBS-4NYC (888-727-4692).