Mayor’s Office, SBS Launch Equitable Cannabis Industry Initiative

Mayor Adams announcing the launch of Cannabis NYC. Image Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

“Cannabis NYC” intends to boost the city’s economy while rectifying harm caused to Black and brown communities under cannabis prohibition. On August 22, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams and Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim announced the launch of Cannabis NYC. The initiative will support entrepreneurs and employees as the industry develops, providing the city’s first-ever technical assistance for cannabis license applicants and additional business services.

Cannabis NYC will work with industry stakeholders to create good jobs, successful small businesses, and sustainable economic opportunities, while also addressing the harms of cannabis prohibition. Specifically, the first phase will ensure that New Yorkers who have previously been involved in the criminal justice system are able to apply for and secure state retail licenses.

As legal cannabis businesses open in the coming years, Cannabis NYC will expand to include a broad suite of business and technical support services tailored to the industry. The initiative will also give store owners networking opportunities and work to establish Cannabis NYC as a global brand. The City is exploring how to best connect cannabis entrepreneurs who may struggle to access traditional business capital with financial support.

Additionally, NYC’s emerging regulated adult-use cannabis market is expected to create historic economic growth. Experts estimate up to $1.3 billion in sales by 2023, and between 19,000-24,000 jobs created over the next three years.

From now until September 26, the NYS Office of Cannabis Management is accepting applications for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses. These licenses will be distributed to qualifying businesses owned by individuals previously found guilty of marijuana offenses, or businesses owned by their parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or dependent. CAURD licensees will be the first legal cannabis retailers open in the state, setting an equitable foundation for the adult-use cannabis market.

To advance the state’s ambitious equity goals and help New Yorkers interested in applying for CAURD licenses, Cannabis NYC will provide application support, support beyond the license, and long term industry support.

  • Application Support: Cannabis NYC will answer questions about CAURD application requirements, hold educational webinars, and work with applicants to complete their applications from now until September 26, 2022.
  • Support Beyond the License: The initiative will also connect aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs to no-cost services and technical assistance to support successful businesses.
  • Long-Term Industry Support: Cannabis NYC will expand its programming as the industry grows, connecting New Yorkers to good jobs and building strong businesses in the cannabis industry and ancillary industries.

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

NYS Assemblymember Chantel Jackson described the positive impact the initiative will have for communities of color, stating “I’ve witnessed my family members be arrested and prosecuted for a plant my white counterparts used recreationally without repercussion. It is time to right the wrongs of our failed drug enforcement system and create clear and easy pathways for the most negatively impacted groups to profit from cannabis.”

Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer added, “With a meaningful focus on equity, Cannabis NYC will help push our city toward a robust economic recovery with new and high-paying jobs and hundreds of millions in revenue to be reinvested in those communities most harmed by the ‘War on Drugs’ and the current pandemic.”

Mayor Eric Adams: “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. 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.”

By: Cassidy Strong (Cassidy is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)

Mayor’s Office: Mayor Adams, Department of Small Business Services Announce New Initiative to Equitably Grow Cannabis Industry in NYC (August 22, 2022).

One thought on “Mayor’s Office, SBS Launch Equitable Cannabis Industry Initiative

  1. The legal Marijuana Stores will bring the ghetto to every neighborhood retail area. That is the whole point of legalizing marijuana sales. Shopping districts around the city are already seeing the problems that all these new ‘smoke shops’ are creating, even in the better areas. The smoke shops attract lowlifes and guys who smoke marijuana out in the open on public streets. Often in front of children. NYC will regret legalized marijuana stores.

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