NY Doubles Recreational Marijuana Licenses Planned for Long Island

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

New York State cannabis regulators doubled the number of recreational marijuana retail licenses that will likely be granted in the coming months on Long Island from 20 to 40, officials announced Thursday.

The state Cannabis Control Board (CCB) revealed plans to increase the amount of Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses — paperwork required to open a pot shop or cannabis cafe — from 150 to 300 statewide during the board’s most recent meeting.

“With this expansion, more entrepreneurs will be able to participate in the first wave of this industry, allowing them to capitalize on the growing demand for cannabis products,” said Tremaine Wright, chair of the CCB. 

The state has previously approved 13 CAURD licenses for LI so far, but none have opened for business yet since the first round of licenses were approved on Nov. 21 or the second batch were approved in January. The 13 were among 66 approved statewide, but only four have opened to date in Manhattan and upstate. Most of the eligible licenses, pulled from the existing pool of 900 applicants, will be considered for approval at the CCB’s next meeting in April.

The board also adopted regulations for packaging, labeling, marketing, advertising, and laboratory testing at its latest meeting, another step establishing a legal framework for the regulations of the cannabis industry in the state. Cannabis products must be tested and labeled prior to being authorized to be sold. 

In addition, the CCB voted to advance the framework for cannabis research licensees to produce, process, purchase, and/or possess cannabis for limited research purposes in the state. The proposed regulations will allow dispensaries to provide products for blinded studies on human subjects, the gold standard for determining if a product is truly effective. 

The towns of Southampton, Riverhead, Brookhaven or Babylon are the only LI municipalities to allow pot retailers in their jurisdiction. Local companies have also yet to launch home delivery, which can occur anywhere under state rules. About a dozen farmers who won licenses to grow marijuana on the East End also are not limited to growing in those four towns and a cannabis lab was approved last month in Hauppauge.

The seven retailers approved in the first round in November were Strain Stars, Albert D. Capraro, Brian Stark Enterprises LLC, Hydro Phonics, Keep It A 100, Growth Industries, and Root 13. The additional six approved in January were Budding Industry Group, Top Shelf Aficionados, Natural Wonders Cannabis, Lyfted Essentials, Kushmart NY, and NYCC1. Most, if not all, will operate under different names than those corporate entities. The CCB will vote to approve the next 27 coming to the Island.

“Doubling the amount of available Conditional Adult-Use Dispensary Licenses will help kickstart the growth of New York’s cannabis industry,” said Damian Fagon Chief Equity Officer of the Office of Cannabis Management. “More stores means more locations for New York farmers to sell their harvests, more convenience for New York customers to make the right decisions and purchase safer and legal products, and twice as many opportunities for New Yorkers harmed by over-policing during cannabis prohibition.” 

Related Story: Meet The Group Behind One of LI’s First Legal Pot Retailers