Regulators stated Thursday that New York would double the licenses it will provide for a first round of legal marijuana stores, even though only a tiny portion of the dispensaries already allowed have opened, and licensing has been suspended in some locations due to a court decision.
About two years after allowing adult use of recreational marijuana, New York is still working hard to develop its sizable legal industry.
Sixty-six dispensary licenses have been granted thus far, and four stores—three in New York City—have opened. Late in December, there were the first official sales.
In the interim, unlicensed marijuana stores and delivery services have sprung up throughout the state and city. Authorities have been rushing to take action against them.
One hundred fifty dispensary licenses were initially scheduled to be awarded by the state.
The first batch went to charitable organizations or applicants with both business expertise and a personal or family history of marijuana convictions.
Executive Director Chris Alexander informed the state Cannabis Control Board on Thursday that the state cannabis office now plans to issue 300 licenses after receiving over 900 applications.
“With this expansion, more businesses will be able to engage in the initial wave of this industry,” board Chair Tremaine Wright said in a statement after the meeting.
Yet, according to a federal judge’s decision in November, almost 40% of the proposed licenses are allotted for the state’s regions where the state cannot grant them.
The ruling put a hold on specific permissions during a legal dispute about the requirements for applicants’ ties to New York.
The ruling, which is applicable in Brooklyn, central New York, the Finger Lakes, the mid-Hudson region, and western New York, is being appealed by the state.
The court’s ruling jeopardized Jessica Naissant’s intentions to operate a dispensary in Brooklyn.
She nonetheless expressed her gratitude to the board for the increased license number, stating that the members were attentive to applicants and working “to help us out.”