New York’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) took steps to jumpstart the state’s forthcoming adult-use cannabis industry at its Nov. 21 meeting, where regulators approved the first 36 Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses and voted to advance comprehensive regulations for the state’s adult-use cannabis program.

The CCB approved 36 total retail licenses—28 for qualifying individuals and eight for nonprofits—from a pool of over 900 applications.

At least one CAURD license was granted in each available region of the state, according to a CCB press release.

A list of the 36 CAURD licensees can be found here.

“Today is a monumental day for New York’s nascent cannabis industry,” CCB Chair Tremaine Wright said in a public statement. “With the first adult-use retail dispensary licenses in the hands of businesses and eligible nonprofits, we’ve ensured the first sales will be made at dispensaries operated by those impacted by the unjust enforcement of cannabis prohibition. This is just the start; we will continue to work to build an industry that is open to anyone who wants to participate. Many thanks to Gov. Kathy Hochul and her unwavering support as we all work to make sure New York has the most equitable and inclusive cannabis industry in the nation.”

Regulators will ultimately issue up to 175 total retail licenses to as many as 150 individuals and 25 nonprofits. Then, moving forward, applications will be sent to the CCB for consideration on a rolling basis, according to the press release.

RELATED: New York Announces Number of Conditional Adult-Use Dispensary Licenses, Separated by Region

The issuance of these first CAURD licenses represents the completion of New York’s initial adult-use cannabis supply chain, as outlined in the Seeding Opportunity Initiative that Gov. Kathy Hochul introduced in March. The plan aims to prioritize those most impacted by the war on drugs in the adult-use licensing process, in part by issuing the first CAURD licenses to those with cannabis-related convictions.

RELATED: New York Will Issue First Adult-Use Dispensary Licenses to Applicants with Cannabis-Related Convictions

To be eligible for a CAURD license, applicants must have a cannabis-related conviction themselves or have a family member with a cannabis-related conviction. In addition, applicants had to own a profitable business in the past to be eligible for a CAURD license.

Nonprofits qualify for a CAURD license if they have a history of serving current or formerly incarcerated individuals, have at least one justice-involved board member, have at least five full-time employees, and have operated a social enterprise that had net assets or profit for at least two years.

The Seeding Opportunity Initiative will provide CAURD licensees with support from the Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, which Hochul announced in January.

“I’m thrilled that we’ve approved the first adult-use retail licenses as part of the Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which sets our industry off on the right foot—with equity, justice and sustainability at the forefront,” CCB member Jen Metzger said in a public statement. “These entrepreneurs will be selling sun-grown cannabis cultivated with a minimal carbon footprint, and we must continue to ensure that New York’s industry remains on an equitable and climate-conscious path well into the future.”

Hochul signed legislation earlier this year to allow New York’s existing hemp farmers to apply for a new Conditional Adult-Use Cannabis Cultivator License to grow cannabis for the forthcoming adult-use market during the 2022 growing season.

The CCB has also issued adult-use cannabis processor licenses, and adult-use sales are expected to launch by the end of the year.

In addition to approving the first set of CAURD licensees, the CCB also voted Monday to advance a package of proposed adult-use cannabis regulations to a 60-day public comment period.

RELATED: New York Regulators Release Proposed Adult-Use Cannabis Regulations Ahead of Board Meeting

The comprehensive regulatory framework lays out the rules all adult-use cannabis licensees must follow. The regulations outline the following, according to the press release:

The application and license selection and renewal process,The role municipalities play in regulating cannabis businesses,Key social and economic equity program provisions including identification and prioritization,Environmental and sustainability standards,Ownership and true party of interest prohibitions,General business operating requirements including security, record keeping, and transportation.

“With the release of today’s regulations, we are setting in place the supply chain for the adult-use market and bringing to fruition the vision and goals of our state’s cannabis law,” said CCB member Jessica Garcia in a public statement. “In so doing, we are creating an inclusive, equitable market that protects workers and offers pathways to union careers. I look forward to hearing from the public as we work to fine tune the regulations and create opportunities for all New Yorkers in this exciting new industry.”

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