First Dispensary Licenses in New York Go to Those with Pot Convictions

First Dispensary Licenses in New York Go to Those with Pot Convictions
High Times

Cannabis regulators in New York revealed that at least 100 of the state’s first licenses for adult-use cannabis retailers will go to applicants with past pot-related convictions. The policy, which was announced on Thursday by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, would also apply to applicants with family members convicted of cannabis-related offenses. Chris Alexander, the executive director of the New York Office of Cannabis Management, told the New York Times that by concentrating on “those who otherwise would have been left behind,” the state is in a “position to do something that has not been done before.” He said that he expects between 100 and 200 of the first recreational dispensary licenses will be issued to applicants with convictions for cannabis-related offenses or to those with “a parent, guardian, child, spouse or dependent” with such a conviction. “These ‘justice involved’ individuals will be eligible for four-year conditional retail licenses to sell cannabis in the adult-use market,” explained Michelle Bodian, co-chair of the hemp and cannabinoids department of the law firm Vicente Sederberg.  “Creating an initial licensing round that prioritizes these individuals is intended to give them a first-mover advantage that helps them capitalize on what is expected to become one of the largest legal cannabis markets in the world. It is critical that those individuals and communities most heavily impacted by cannabis prohibition be given an opportunity to participate in this new industry.” Under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, the landmark recreational cannabis legalization bill passed in New York last year, half of the state’s cannabis licenses for retailers, cultivators, processors and other other businesses were reserved for women, minorities, distressed farmers, veterans and “individuals who have lived in communities disproportionally impacted” by the failed War on Drugs. Alexander said that giving social equity applicants a head start over…

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