With the Variscite lawsuit settled, the New York State Cannabis Control Board (CCB) announced the first Finger Lakes license holders on June 15. The CCB approved 36 new Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses, including seven in the Finger Lakes Region. The state’s total number of retail dispensary licenses now stands at 251.
According to the Office of Cannabis Management, the seven licensees in the Finger Lakes Region are:
- MJ Dispensary LLC.
- William J. Wheeler d/b/a Heavy Lids.
- MACH Enterprises.
- Scott M. General.
- High Points of the Finger Lakes LLC.
- Canna Life LLC.
- Northfield Consulting LLC.
Just don’t expect a dispensary in your neighborhood to open next week. Many of the cannabis entrepreneurs who were awarded licenses in other regions of New York last December have yet to open their shops. Securing suitable retail space has become the licensees’ biggest challenge, noted attorney Matthew Schwartz in May, on the Canna Law Blog of international law firm Harris Bricken.
He wrote that finding and building out appropriate retail space has become so difficult that “at least eight CAURD licensees” sent an open letter on May 9 to the OCM, the Cannabis Control Board and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), the organization tasked with securing retail dispensary locations. Their goal was to secure a meeting with the authorities to iron out the issues that have arisen since they were awarded their CAURD licenses, Schwartz reported.
In the letter, the licensees voiced their concerns about DASNY’s financial practices, its slow response to licensees’ needs and its lack of transparency. They also had questions about the apparently unfunded New York State Cannabis Social Equity Investment Fund set up by the state to provide financial support to their fledgling businesses.
“We sincerely hope DASNY, OCM and CCB take the concerns identified in the letter seriously,” Schwartz concluded. “We’ve been following many of these issues on the blog for a while now, and we have been dealing with them on behalf of clients from here in our New York office.”
Just a dozen licensed dispensaries are operating in the state as of June 12. A pop-up location of a Binghamton dispensary is operating in Ithaca – the only one in the Finger Lakes area. Nine dispensaries are brick-and-mortar storefronts and three are delivery-only, the OCM reported. By the end of the month, though, the first CAURD dispensaries in the Long Island Region and in Central New York (Syracuse) are expected to open, along with two delivery-only operations in Rensselaer and the Bronx.
The delivery-only option, which allows dispensary licensees to deliver customers’ orders of cannabis products by bicycle, scooter and other motor vehicles, was introduced late last year. The model was designed to help CAURD entrepreneurs jumpstart their businesses as they worked to open permanent retail locations.