ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Where does New York currently stand on selling adult-use cannabis? Well today, the Office of Cannabis Management released final regulations and the application for retail cannabis dispensaries. With the cannabis industry on the rise, what can we expect for the future of New York? 

“No question the cannabis industry is gonna bring hundreds if not thousands and thousands of jobs. You know this is a tremendous opportunity,” said Lauren Rudick,, partner at Hiller PC and co-founder of the cannabis law practice.

Distributing dispensary licenses is part of the state’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which positions equity-entrepreneurs to be the first to make adult-use cannabis sales.

“This initiative that combines the work that we’ve been doing with our conditional farmers and processors that you mentioned just a moment ago in your opening as well as the $200 million social equity fund, is really a first in the nation. New York is putting social equity and farmers at the heart of its cannabis industry,” said Axel Barnabe, senior policy director at NYS Office of Cannabis Management.

Applicants must meet two criteria: first the applicant or a close relative will need documentation of a cannabis-related conviction that happened before the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act passed, this legalized recreational cannabis in March of  2021. Secondly, they must have some experience owning and operating a successful business in New York. 

Rudick says the eligibility for applicants is quite limited. The Office of Cannabis submitted the proposed regulations for dispensaries back in March. They received over 600 public comments. 

“…From some of the most prominent organizations that are dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the cannabis industry. A lot of people have issues with how narrowly tailored or how narrowly drawn the eligibility criteria were,” said Rudick.

But the office did not budge on their requirements. They’re expected to distribute 100-200 retail licenses by the end of this year. 

“We definitely are interested to see the quality of product that’s gonna stock those shelves you know we don’t have a ton of experience cultivators or product manufacturers here in New York so it will be very interesting to see how our Cannabinoid Hemp farmers are able to grow successfully THC containing plants,” said Rudick.

As of right now, there are 223 farms in New York licensed to grow adult-use Cannabis.