New Yorkers already convicted of cannabis will obtain the first sales licenses

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The New York authorities want to favor people who have already been convicted of possession of cannabis, or whose family members have been harmed by prohibition and criminalization, and allow them to obtain the first retail cannabis licenses, before existing medical cannabis companies come into play.

The proposal to create these conditional licenses will be reviewed and announced today by the New York State Cannabis Control Board (CCB). The move would set the state apart from other states that have legalized cannabis but have been criticized for failing to deliver on social justice promises.

Promote equity

To obtain a conditional license, the applicant must have been convicted of a cannabis-related offense before March 31, 2021, the date the state law on legalizing adult use was enacted. Persons whose “parent, legal guardian, child, spouse or dependant” has been the subject of such a conviction are also eligible, as are those who are themselves dependents of a convicted person.

Eligible applicants must meet other requirements. For example, the measure stipulates that they must “hold or have held, for at least two years, an interest of at least 10% in an eligible company and have control over it, that is to say a company which made a net profit for at least two of the years it was in business”.

Nonprofits could also be eligible to hold the licenses if they “intentionally serve people and communities engaged in justice and with historically high rates of arrest, conviction, incarceration, or other indicators of Enforcement Activity for Marijuana-Related Offenses.

Existing medical cannabis operators, called “registered organizations” under the state’s cannabis code, would not be able to obtain the proposed conditional licenses. This appears to be part of the overall state goal of ensuring that the emerging industry is fair and not dominated by multi-state operators.

“I could press the green button right now and have 40 dispensaries online,” said CCB executive director Chris Alexander, referring to the state’s medical cannabis companies.

“But instead, we decided that those most affected had the space and leeway to participate in a meaningful way. »

To ensure that those most affected by criminalization can compete as the market opens and matures, conditional licenses should be reserved for applicants with at least 51% ownership by persons affected by criminalization. criminalization of cannabis, as provided for in the measure.

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