The Cannabis Control Commission (the “Commission”) held a public meeting earlier today where it advanced several key elements of the innovation Seed Opportunity Initiative, which allows people with prior cannabis-related criminal offenses to make the first sales of cannabis for adult use with products grown by farmers in New York. Here are some key points from the meeting:
New License Application Period for Conditional Adult Use Processor Licenses
During the meeting, the Board voted to establish the application and licensing window for the Adult Use Conditional Processor License. In accordance with the legislation signed by Governor Hochul in February, which we talked about here, processors who hold a cannabinoid hemp processor license from the Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”) are eligible to apply for the Conditional Adult Use Processor License. To be eligible to apply for a Conditional Adult Use Processor License, a Processor must:
- Have applied for a cannabinoid hemp processor license before January 1, 2022;
- Hold an active cannabinoid hemp processor license issued by the CMO; and
- Hold a 51% or greater equity interest in the licensing entity.
The conditional processor license for adult use authorizes the license holder to process and distribute their own cannabis products (over 0.3% THC) for a period of two years or until they transition to a unconditional processor license. Processors are required to participate in a social equity candidate mentorship program and an environmental sustainability program.
The application window will open on Tuesday, June 28 and close on Wednesday, August 31. The model of the online application form is available here.
Other highlights of the meeting include the approval of 41 additional conditional adult-use cultivator licenses as well as the appointment of Damian Fagon as Director of Social Equity, discussed in more detail below.
Approval of additional conditional adult grower licenses
Since the application window for Adult Conditional Use Growers opened on March 15e, the CCB and has received over 250 applications for the program and has reviewed and approved applicants on an ongoing basis. Today, the Board voted to approve 41 additional nominees, in addition to the 162 already approved. The Board will continue to review applications on an ongoing basis and make subsequent recommendations for licensing under the Conditional Cultivator program. The application window for the program closes on June 30, 2022. More information about this program can be found here.
Appointment of the director of actions
The Board of Directors has appointed Damian Fagon as Chief Equity Officer of the Office of Cannabis Management. As Chief Equity Officer, Mr. Fagon will play a key role in the development of CMO’s social equity program initiatives, including the creation and implementation of the social and economic equity plan such as stipulated in the MRTA. Mr. Fagon will also work closely with the new Advisory Board who will advise the CMO and oversee the Community Grants Investment Fund to help communities affected by the War on Drugs.
Mr. Fagon is an experienced policy professional with a background in industrial hemp, cannabis, economic development and agriculture. He is also a third generation farmer and has managed international agricultural development initiatives in several countries including Jamaica, Sierra Leone and Guatemala. He has also owned several hemp businesses and since 2017 has worked at scale cannabis and industrial hemp cultivation operations in South Carolina, New York and the Caribbean.
Social Equity Fund Program Updates
The Council appears to have made significant progress on another component of the Seed Opportunities Initiative, the Social Equity Fund Program. As a reminder, the CMO was given the power to create and regulate the Social Equity Fund program to provide those harmed by the disproportionate application of cannabis laws with licenses for the legal sale of cannabis by through conditional adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries in New York City. . Applicants selected by the CMO and Council to receive Conditional Adult Retail Use Licenses (“CAURD Licensees”) will be eligible for funding for their dispensaries from the New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, a private fund established with the aim of undertaking the first construction and rental of dispensaries for operation by CAURD concessionaires. Under this program, the Dormitory Authority of New York State (DASNY) will provide support with its rental and construction services to adult conditional cannabis retail dispensaries and renovate them to meet the health, safety and security requirements. The Fund will then sublet these sites to CAURD Licensees who will be responsible for their operation.
During the meeting, Board Member Reuben McDaniel provided several updates regarding the program, including that DASNY recently released a Tender for design-build services for CAURD dispensaries and has also begun to identify sites and negotiate letters of intent with potential landlords. The state aims to roll out CAURD licenses by the end of the year.
We will continue to closely monitor developments related to the rollout of New York’s Adult Cannabis Program.