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Hochul announces Seed Opportunity Initiative, dispensary and cultivation licenses to follow

David McNew
Getty Images

Governor Kathy Hochul is getting the ball rolling on the building an infrastructure for the adult recreational cannabis market with the Seeding Opportunity Initiative.

The initiative comes ahead of the one year anniversary of the legalization of adult recreational use, and creates an equitable farm to store approach.

The Cannabis Control Board advanced two key components of the initiative: putting to public comment regulations for conditional adult use recreational dispensaries. These dispensaries, according to the original intent of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, must be owned by “equity-entrepreneurs” who have had a previous marijuana-related conviction.

“It’s just the start of putting our efforts in putting equity first,” said Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Christopher Alexander. “As we develop the full slate of adult use regulations, we are also developing opportunities for accessing capital, incubating businesses, and providing technical support across the entire industry.”

Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Christopher Alexander addresses the media after a meeting of the Cannabis Control Board
Thomas O'Neil-White
Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Christopher Alexander addresses the media after a meeting of the Cannabis Control Board

The second initiative, approved by the New York State Cannabis Control Board, is the Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License for farmers with 2-4 years of experience growing hemp. The application portal is set to open March 15th.

But Alexander cautions these licensing initiatives are only a small part of the overall licensing plan the state is developing.

“I want to emphasize again, this is a small segment of the potential dispensary licenses, and even a smaller segment of the total licenses that will be provided in the adult use program,” he said. “But we found it prudent to get this market off the ground as soon as possible and to rely on existing or individuals who have both been impacted but also have the experience and the tenacity of owning and operating businesses to be the foundation of our market moving forward.”

More information on licensing through the state can be found here.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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