At Last: New York Issues Licenses For Cannabis Dispensaries

Written by Lydia Kariuki

After a long wait of twenty-plus months, New York has finally issued recreational cannabis licenses to 36 successful applicants, a majority of whom are social equity applicants. The licenses were issued on Monday and officials insist that the first recreational dispensaries will be opened by the end of this year. We have four short weeks to go.

Unlike other states, New York will allow dispensary owners to launch delivery services even before they open brick-and-mortar retail dispensaries. According to the Office of Cannabis management (OCM), this will help the small retailers to launch and scale so that they can begin making profits early.

Out of the 36 marijuana retail permits that have been issued by the state, 28 have been given to social equity applicants. This includes persons with prior non-violent marijuana convictions or their close family members. The other eight licenses have been issued to non-profit organizations. The full list of successful applicants can be found on the OCM website.

New York legalized cannabis for recreational use in March 2021. Being the 15th state to make this move, the Empire state had the chance to benchmark against its predecessors. However, the state took a tangent in one key area; prioritizing social equity above all else. Going by how the first licenses have been distributed, it is crystal clear that when it comes to “righting the wrongs” of the cannabis prohibition era, the state of New York means business.

About the author

Lydia Kariuki