To the Editor:
New York legalized recreational cannabis on March 31, 2021, and here we wait for the boards to be appointed and the regulations to be completed. In the meantime, are social-equity members getting misinformation on the cost for adult-use dispensary licenses? I’ve been hearing assumptions recently that the license fee will be around $200,000 or more.
As a minority-owned CBD business owner since 2018 and a New York-licensed cannabinoid retailer, I’ve represented myself from the beginning by learning and following New York’s laws and guidelines. I have followed the development of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act and continue to read it over and over to have a complete understanding of the law and its intentions.
The false assumptions these individuals are spreading will produce the same results we have with the limited and strictly controlled medical marijuana program. It will give way to all the big corporations to operate in New York and crush all small businesses and farms. If New York has placed a goal of 50% of licenses going to social-equity members, I don’t see that goal ever being met with license fees that will never be attainable by social-equity members.
In my opinion, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will keep the fees affordable to meet the planned goals of 50% licenses to social-equity applicants. With the cannabinoid program now under the Office of Cannabis Management, the cannabis program will probably be similar with the additions of social consumption centers and micro-businesses. I feel the license fees will be in the similar format as the cannabinoid program and will increase depending on the type of business but will still be affordable.
Now, it may cost $250,000 or more to begin operating a cannabis business. This would include the license, real estate, equipment, supplies, employees and more. So, if you want to be in New York’s cannabis business, start preparing now. Start by doing your research and homework now, making your connections, take any free business courses through the U.S. Small Business Administration, speaking with your local government to educate them on the benefits of the MRTA in your community to get it approved, and get involved with your community to get their support. We have to look at past errors from the failed war on drugs and the strictly controlled medical marijuana program to make New York’s cannabis programs one of the best in the country. Hopefully, things will start moving with the appointments to the boards soon. Good luck to all the inspiring cannapreneurs.
The writer is owner of Syracuse Hemporium in the Northern Lights Plaza, Mattydale.