NY announces proposal to give cannabis retail license priority to those with marijuana convictions
New York officially announced its plan to give people with previous marijuana convictions priority to the first cannabis retail licenses Thursday.
The state's Office of Cannabis Management says the first 50% of licenses will go to "equity entrepreneurs" in neighborhoods hit hard by marijuana law enforcement. Those with marijuana convictions will be pushed up higher on the list.
Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander says instead of opening the market to operators who are dominating the national space, they decided to put those who have been most impacted at the center of what they are building.
Renita Certain opened a boutique in Wyandanch with the goal of helping others in her neighborhood with the profits.
She says she wants to get in the cannabis game.
"It is a way of having those people who have that same story be able to be employed and get a second chance," Certain says.
Others say it's wrong to reward those who have previously violated the law and to even legalize cannabis.
"I completely disagree with marijuana being sold in any way, shape or form," says Lindenhurst resident Tarak Farag.
If Certain gets a dispensary license, she's not sure it will be at the location of her existing store but says it will go to benefit the neighborhood.
"Of course you wouldn't have it in a residential neighborhood," Certain says. "You'd put it somewhere in the town of Babylon with commercial property, but you can still give back."
The state expects to start taking applications later this year.
The state also approved the application process for farmers to apply to grow cannabis in New York, which could supply stores in the state.