The state’s Office of Cannabis Management received 14 requests in one week for people wanting to process cannabis flowers, oils and products for the first recreational marijuana sales in New York City, expected at the end of of this fall.
Farmers and entrepreneurs who want to prepare, manufacture and package cannabis products for sale began submitting applications on June 28 for a conditional adult processor license.
“They’re going to turn it into gummies or vapes or all those other packaged products that you’re used to seeing sold in a dispensary,” said Allan Gandelman, president of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association.
The new State Department received nominations in 10 counties, including two in Ontario, Albany, Erie and Monroe counties and one in Schenectady, Cortland, Tompkins, Onondaga, Yates and Orange counties , according to the CMO on Tuesday.
Entrepreneurs with a cannabis-related conviction or a direct relative of someone with a cannabis-related conviction prior to the MRTA in New York, or those with experience owning and operating a successful business in the ‘state, were eligible to apply for licenses this year. The qualifications were outlined as part of the state’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative, Kathy Hochul, announced in March.
Adult Conditional Processor License is valid for two years from date of issue. All licenses will be invalid after June 30, 2024.
“The way we’re starting the adult-use market in New York State is to focus on small businesses, small farmers, and industries that grow hemp in the state,” he said Tuesday. CMO spokesman Freeman Klopott.
The new Cannabis Management Office has issued conditional grower licenses to 203 New York hemp growers for processors to purchase marijuana. Eligible farmers had to have applied for a hemp processing license by January 1.
Hemp growers were the first to apply for two-year licenses. Applications closed June 30.
“As we open up our market, they’re taking the stability they’ve brought to the community and bringing the same stability to the cannabis industry in New York,” Klopott said.
Gandelman, co-founder of New York Hemp Oil in Cortland, applied for a processor’s license last week without a hitch — encountering no hurdles or problems completing the lengthy application.
“This is a small group of experienced processors and makers to apply,” Gandelman said. “It’s a big app. There’s a lot of work to do, but it’s not something we haven’t done before.”
Adult conditional use retail dispensary applications will open later this summer at an undetermined date.
The state’s emerging cannabis industry is on track to license up to 150 dispensaries through early 2023.
Juliana Whitney, a Las Vegas-based business strategy consultant, helps people get their licenses in US states where recreational marijuana is legal.
New York’s Cannabis Control Board must set regulations for product testing, packaging, labeling, and other details. The draft guidelines for laboratory testing, marketing and labeling are open for public comment until August 15.
Whitney said she and others in the industry expect the council to have finalized more regulations so far, but the wait period is comparable to other states that have previously put implement the industry.
“But I have to say, we’re all grateful that the state is taking its time,” Whitney said. “Hopefully that means they’re as careful as possible to make it a logical setup for the operators to actually exist within.”
Growers and processors will have to adapt to state standards, tweaking their practices to grow a healthy and successful crop that exceeds New York standards.
Supply will remain a major concern for dispensaries which could be disrupted by complex regulations, pending government approvals and a lack of trained workers.
New York will have about 200,000 pounds of cannabis at the end of the harvest season, with farmers allowed to grow up to one acre between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds of marijuana each.
New York has one of the largest cannabis markets in the country and consumes between 1 million and 5 million pounds of marijuana each year.
Each applicant must pay a non-refundable fee of $2,000 to be included in the state’s cannabis revenue fund. The fund covers the costs of administering the program and implementing the MRTA, including 40% to the state lottery fund for K-12 education grants to eligible school districts; 40% to the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund for local governments and community organizations; and 20% for drug treatment and public health education on marijuana use.
Recreational cannabis was estimated to generate $2 billion in revenue for the state when the legislation was enacted.
Marijuana sales will begin generating revenue for the state as soon as they begin in New York.
“He will continue to rely on himself,” Klopott said, adding that revenue will increase over the next few years.
Funding is not specifically defined in the state budget for processing applications.
OCM didn’t give a timeline, but Gandelman hopes to hear about his candidacy within a month.
“Farmers are going to start harvesting their crops in September, so we want to make sure that we are licensed, that our track and trace programs are in place so that we can start receiving cannabis from all of these farmers,” a- he declared.
State officials have been diligently studying what has worked and what hasn’t worked in the other 18 states that allow adult marijuana use.
Whitney said it was a strong sign of what was to come.
“It’s a good program – it looks like it, anyway,” she added.