The state announced this winter that the first round of retail cannabis licenses would go to businesses and nonprofit groups with a leader who was convicted of a marijuana offense or has a close relation who was. New York state started to accept applications on Thursday, taking a novel approach by reserving roughly 150 retail dispensary licences for people with past pot convictions or their relatives as a bold initiative.
It’s an unique strategy that they are implementing to make sure that those of most impacted have real opportunity to participate in it.
The application process is the key step toward opening one of the country’s most hotly awaited legal cannabis markets, but there’s no exact date yet for sales to begin. Except for California, New York is the most populous among the 19 U.S states that have legalized possession and use of marijuana for adults.
New York officials have emphasized that they want to make sure the new industry provides an opportunity to people who bore the burnt of drug law enforcement, which fell disproportionately on Black and Latino people.
The state announced this winter that the first round of retail Cannabis licenses would go to businesses and nonprofit groups with a leader who was convicted of a marijuana offense or has a close relation.
First-round license requirements also include experience running a business that was profitable for at least two years.
New York aims to provide 50% of its total licenses to such applicants. The state also has pledged to establish a $200 million fund for startup grants, loans and other assistance for them.
Other would-be dispensary proprietors will be able to apply later, with a focus on people of colour, women, struggling farmers, disabled veterans and people from communities that endured heavy pot policing.