NY Doubles Number of Recreational Marijuana Dispensaries for Long Island

pot shops recreational marijuana
Glass jar full of recreational marijuana for sale at a market (Getty Images).

The number of entities allowed to sell recreational marijuana on Long Island nearly doubled when New York State regulators approved another half dozen licenses for upstarts planning to do business in the region.

Winners include the owners of an East Quogue-based home improvement company, an online clothing retailer and an independent movie producer. The state Cannabis Control Board (CCB) approved 30 new  Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses at its latest meeting on Jan. 26, with more expected to follow.

“We’re ensuring those most impacted by the unjust enforcement of cannabis prohibition are paving the way for a new industry filled with potential and economic opportunity,” Tremaine Wright, who chairs the CCB, said of the fact that all of the winners have prior convictions for marijuana offenses. 

The latest licensees joined seven others that the CCB approved on Nov. 21, but have yet to open brick-and-mortar dispensaries in the towns of Southampton, Riverhead, Brookhaven or Babylon, the only local municipalities to allow pot shops or cannabis cafes. Local companies have also yet to launch home delivery, which can occur anywhere under state rules.

“Due to [the Office of Cannabis Management’s] post-award changes to their ownership policy, our group is in limbo,” said the co-owner of one local dispensary. “I’m afraid much has been stalled as a result.”

Those who won the latest round to do business on LI are Budding Industry Group, which is partly owned by Anthony Traina, who owned a Dix Hills-based dog breeder called LI Bully Squad; Top Shelf Aficionados, partly owned by Usman Whyen, who owns a New York City taxi service; Natural Wonders Cannabis, partly owned by Joseph Carlsen, who owned Hauppauge-based printing company Vivid Vinyl; Lyfted Essentials, partly owned by Gary Perodin, who owned online apparel retailer The 51631; Kushmart NY, partly owned by James Adames, who ran the film company Freedomland Production; and NYCC1, partly owned by Bryan Whalen, owner of Leeward Corp. in East Quogue.

The seven entities previously approved for cannabis retail were Strain Stars, Albert D. Capraro, Brian Stark Enterprises LLC, Hydro Phonics, Keep It A 100, Growth Industries, and Root 13. That’s in addition to a dozen cannabis farms previously approved for the East End and a cannabis lab in Hauppauge granted a license in the latest round.

Some cautioned that in the meantime, the state should step up its efforts to shut down stores illegally selling marijuana.

“I hope that as New York continues to push out new licenses, they also double down on enforcement efforts,” said Family & Children’s Association President/CEO Jeffrey Reynolds. “There are a number of unlicensed stores across Long Island that are selling cannabis illegally, pushing products that target children in a way that violates the regulations and there are venues hosting cannabis events that run afoul of the law. The Office of Cannabis Management needs to more aggressively enforce the laws and regulations that protect newly licensed retailers and safeguard public health.”