Entrepreneurs speak on struggles to open dispensaries in New York
People with prior marijuana-related offenses were supposed to be the first to sell marijuana and open dispensaries in New York, but some of those entrepreneurs have run into roadblocks along the way.
John got his conditional adult-use retail dispensary license back in March as part of the CAURD program. CAURD licenses are for those with previous marijuana-related offenses to help them be the first to the market.
John sold marijuana prior to receiving his license, and stopped once he was legally able to sell. He searched Williamsburg for a space, but says the state denied him for four different locations. Seven months later, he’s run into another stop – a state judge overseeing two lawsuits has barred the state from issuing more licenses or opening businesses.
"I don't want to go back to the gray market because I have a license and I want to do it the right way,” said John. “But, like, what else am I supposed to do? There are illegal stores all over the place and they're not allowing the legal ones to open up, so what do I do?"
Across the street from the last site that John tried to rent are two dispensaries, but according to the state, there are no licensed dispensaries on that block.
According to state records, there are at least 30 final and provisional CAURD licenses in the Bronx, and at least 90 in Brooklyn. The state’s Office of Cannabis Management says that just two retailers have opened in the Bronx, and none have opened in Brooklyn, with only 23 total opening statewide.
John says the process has taken him so long that he’s lost all his investors, and now he’s worried he won’t be able to find any new ones when his time does come to open his business.
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