Back in 2021, on March 31 New York state legalized recreational marijuana. Almost immediately after the legalization, the Cannabis Control Board started to accept applications for dispensary and processor licenses. However, that was almost eighteen months ago, and at present, the legal cannabis market is still on hold.
Yet, this is changing. The executive director of the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, Chris Alexander announced that the first legal dispensaries will not keep waiting for long and are coming by the end of 2022. According to his words, the first stores will open in a matter of weeks.
So, why is the process of licensing so slow? In fact, the licensing process is rigorous. Up to now, only 242 cultivators have been approved, while processing licenses are only fifteen. For enormous New York, this number is almost laughable and arises concerns about whether this number will be enough to supply the market. It is evident that demand exceeds the offer multiple times.
The downside of this delay is that the black market has been quite active all this while, selling cannabis illegally. However, authorities are sure that the number of illegal cases will reduce after legal dispensaries start their activities. This has been true for other states, which is also anticipated for New York.
So, why do dispensaries take so long to open? This is a frequent question, with an apparent answer. The application process is rather complicated and applicants need to meet several conditions to qualify. Among the obligatory conditions is to have prior business operating experience, and a cannabis-related conviction in the state before March 31, 2021.
The strict application process, numerous regulations, and conditions are in an attempt to protect public health. Without licenses, the state strongly prohibits the growth and selling of cannabis.
Among other things, all the applicants need to provide identity information, also mentioning racial and ethnic diversity, proof of good moral conduct, fingerprints, proof of current ownership or investments, and, of course, a financial statement.
Yes, by the end of the year New Yorkers will be able to purchase legal marijuana. Surely, the licensing process won’t be finalized in a blink of an eye. According to anticipation, the process might continue until the middle of the coming 2023 year as the Cannabis Control Board is still receiving applications
In fact, this delay has affected many investors, and some of them not very positively. While the opening process is constantly postponed, many investors have already spent millions on real estate, and other relevant costs. From the start, it was natural that implementation would take time, yet eighteen months has surprised and impacted many investors.
Hopefully, this stagnant situation is going to change soon and the process gain pace at last.