ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — We’re just ten days away from New York’s Office of Cannabis Management approving applications for retail dispensaries. Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige spoke with experts who explain why the process isn’t as easy as you may think.

“It was supposed to be user friendly, but we had to hire a team of lawyers, accountants and consultants that specialize in the business,” said Lucas Dobbins, a conditional adult use retail dispensary applicant. Dobbins says he’s grateful for the opportunity to operate a cannabis dispensary in New York, but the CAURD application was more complicated than what the Board led him to believe. Another caveat, “You’re applying, but you don’t know if you’re gonna be in what region, you put down preferences but you can be in any region of New York State,” he said.

The number of dispensaries allotted throughout the state is based on commuter population. Dobbins says he’s unsure if the OCM will be supplying approved applicants with dispensary locations, “Rumors are that they’re building facilities now that you’re gonna have to buy … you know, not knowing these things, there’s a bunch of gray areas.”

Lauren Rudick is partner at Hiller PC and specializes in cannabis law. Rudick says applicants thought their applications would be seen on a rolling basis, but that’s not the case, “And the Office of Cannabis Management had to come out and proclaim on Twitter and elsewhere that ‘no these applications will not be reviewed on a rolling basis, they will be reviewed all together at the end of the CAURD application window.'” Rudick says this drove applicants to submit their filings as early as possible, in the off chance that there’s an advantage to doing so. 

And some applicants weren’t thinking of insurance coverage. Isaac Bock is Managing Director & Partner at Alpha Root, an insurance brokerage for the cannabis and psychedelics industry. Bock says part of the application process is getting a letter of intent, “And then I would say try to get it taken care of early on because it is a line item expense so it helps you with your modeling and budgeting moving forward.”

The application deadline is September 26th. The Office of Cannabis Management has not finalized the details for announcing approved applications but they will make a public announcement soon.