New York: First Cannabis Dispensaries May be Approved by the End of November

Written by Lydia Kariuki

It’s been over a year since New York legalized the recreational use of cannabis. However, the state is yet to make the first of such a sale since there are no legal recreational weed dispensaries as yet. But things might change this November, said a top regulator at the Business of Cannabis Conference that took place last week. This story was first reported by Marijuana Moment.

Speaking to amNewYork Metro, a spokesperson from the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) confirmed that there were plans to approve the first adult use cannabis dispensary license during the board’s next meeting on November 21st. The OCM offers regulatory oversight for the cannabis industry and is responsible for issuing dispensary licenses to qualifying applicants. So far, no licenses have been issued. However, about 900 license applications have been made and the applicants are awaiting a response from the OCM. Some sources claim that about 150 licenses will be issued in the first batch, meaning that there will be quite a number of disappointments.

New York has made a special effort to prioritize diversity and inclusion in the cannabis industry. Up to 50% of adult use dispensary licenses will be issued to equity applicants, or to those who were adversely affected by cannabis prohibition. According to estimates from Governor Cuomo’s administration, the state expects to collect close to $350 million annually in tax revenues from legal recreational cannabis sales. Total sales from the legal industry are expected to hit $1.2 billion by the close of 2023 and $4.2 billion by the close of 2027.

Recreational cannabis was legalized in NY on March 31st 2021 when the former governor Andrew Cuomo signed the cannabis bill. This made NY the 16th state to make such a move. But with no licenses issued so far, adults have no access to legal weed. On the other hand, the illicit market, which was valued at $2 billion by Cannabis Public Policy Consulting, continues to thrive.


amNewYork Metro: New York likely to approve first recreational weed dispensaries this month. Retrieved from

NY Office of Cannabis Management: Licensing. Retrieved from

Cannabis Public Policy Consulting. Solving the Data Gap in Cannabis Legalization. Retrieved from

About the author

Lydia Kariuki