New York state announced the first retail recipients of marijuana licenses on Monday, the latest step in an arduous process steeped in legal red tape and one that moves the Empire State closer to capitalizing on the economic potential that other states have reaped from recreational pot sales in recent years.
The state board revealed the first 36 retail licensees. Out of 900 applicants, 28 of the first licenses were awarded to individual businesses, while eight were given to nonprofits. In this initial round, up to 150 licenses are expected to be made available to individual businesses while another 25 licenses at least will be reserved for nonprofits, officials have said.
About a dozen of the 36 licenses announced Monday go to businesses within the five boroughs. The regulations then advance to a 60-day public comment period. (Scroll down for full list of approved licensees.)
The state Office of Cannabis Management says it reviewed 900 applicants in whittling down its annual approval list to the 36 unveiled Monday at its Harlem offices on 125th Street. Applicants in the initial round had to demonstrate “a significant presence in New York state." See the full list here.
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You won't be able to knock on the doors today or tomorrow -- once a business or nonprofit gets a license, it still has a round of paperwork to complete. But the first New York recreational pot dispensaries should be up and running (and allowed to deliver) by December, and that's not even two weeks away. And Monday's announcement is just the first wave.
Going forward, license applications will be sent to the board for its consideration on a rolling basis.
It's not clear how many total licenses will ultimately be awarded statewide or in New York City, where some in Brooklyn are waiting with bated breath after a federal judge temporarily blocked the state from issuing recreational pot licenses there and in upstairs areas amid ongoing legal challenges to the selection process.
The judge's order temporarily bars the state from issuing retail licenses for the five regions of the state Variscite selected in its business application: Brooklyn, central New York, the Finger Lakes, the mid-Hudson region and western New York. It does not cover nine other regions of the state, including the rest of the city.
The ruling affects up to 63 of the 150 possible business licenses.
New York still plans to begin adult marijuana sales by the end of the year, starting with shop owners with past pot convictions or their relatives. State lawmakers designed the legal market to make sure the first retailers were people directly affected by drug law enforcement. The board said Monday the initial approvals did include "justice-involved individuals," businesses affected by prior cannabis convictions, and nonprofits that serve the recently incarcerated.
Besides aspiring sellers, hundreds of hemp farmers who recently cultivated New York's first legal marijuana crop want clarity on when dispensaries will open to market their harvest.
“They don’t really have a lot of options but to wait and hope that they don’t end up having to suffer any losses," said Dan Livingston of the Cannabis Association of New York, a trade group.
Whatever the wrinkles, New York's approach to legalization has gotten some kudos for innovating and emphasizing equity, and applicant advocate and cannabis lawyer Scheril Murray Powell counsels patience. As chief operating officer of the Justus Foundation, she works to help longtime sellers go legal.
Meanwhile, there is new pressure on those businesses that have been selling pot without a license, seemingly without impunity, for months.
“We’ve put out requests to cease and desist. Particularly the storefront and the trucks. I’ve been very clear about the frustration that it’s caused," said Chris Alexander, from the NYS Office of Cannabis Management.
Which Are the First Adult Use Marijuana Dispensaries in NYC
Here are the first businesses and nonprofits granted licenses to sell pot to adults for recreational use in New York.
NEW YORK CITY
Nube NYC LLC - Owned by Hector Guerrero, Naiomy Guerrero, Hector Guerrero and Jarron Parnell in the Bronx. For four years, Hector Guerrero, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Manuel Guerrero Jr a courier and packaging supply business that provided courier services enabling customers to order from various consumer packaged goods and retailers.
Carl M Anderson III – Owned by Carl Anderson in the New York State Borough of The Bronx. For six years Carl Anderson, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated C. Marshall Anderson Consulting, LLC based out of New York City.
Royal Leaf NY – Owned by Angell Turuseta and Emely Chavez in the Bronx. For four years Angel Turuseta, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated A & F Fashion- a New York City Based bargain wholesale vendor who supplied sportswear and leisure wear.
Gabbys Green LLC- Owned by Keith Dalessio in the New York State Borough of Queens, New York. For eight years Keith Dalessio, a justice-involved applicant owned & operated Gabby Pets INC. a pet supplies retail store in The Bronx, that sold small animals and provided training and grooming services.
CGG Enterprises Inc.- Owned by Carson Grant in the New York State Borough of Queens, New York. For eight years, Carson Grant, a justice-involved applicant, owned & Operated CGG Enterprises Inc., a retail and online sales store located in Springfield Gardens, New York, that offered packing, shipping, and delivery services.
Suzanne M Furboter – Owned by Suzanne Furboter and Fernando Pena in the New York State Borough of Queens, New York. For 13 years, Suzanne Furboter and justice-involved applicant, Fernando Pena owned & operated Meatman, Inc a Gastro Pub and Wine Bar located in Astoria, New York.
Anthony Crapanzano – Owned by Anthony Crapanzano and Candace Lee in the New York State Borough of Queens, New York. For eight years, Anthony Crapanzano, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Prime Foods Enterprise LLC a Delicatessen restaurant located in Waretown, New Jersey.
Smacked LLC- Owned by Roland Conner in the New York State Borough of Manhattan, New York. For six years Roland Conner, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Advantage Real Estate Group LLC a property management company
Gabriel Marin - Owned by Gabriel Marin in the New York State Borough of Manhattan, New York. For (3) years, Gabriel Marin, a justice-involved applicant, owed & operated GAM RENO LLC a buy, sell, and install business that served residential properties.
Planet 51 LLC – Owned by Nicholas Koury in the New York State Borough of Manhattan, New York. For five years, Nicholas Koury, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Foster House Studios- Recording studio in Albany, New York.
Florisun LLC – Owned by Keshawn Warner, Richard Rainone, and Christopher Vianelle in the New York State Borough of Manhattan, New York. For seven years, Keshawn Warner, a justice involved applicant, owned & operated The Pharmacy Harlem @ LLC, a Retail pharmacy and over-the-counter medication sales.
Eastern Holdings 88 LLC – Owned by Yan Jin Chen and Zu Rong Chen in the New York State Borough of Staten Island. For eight years Zu Rong Chen, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Long Wong Bakery II, Inc. a bakery serving Brooklyn communities that prepared various kinds of fresh baked goods from scratch for customers.
SAMJNY Holdings LLC – Owned by Mohamed Elgaly and Shlomo Weinstock in the New York State Borough of Staten Island. For eight years, Mohamed Elgaly, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Vape Guys LLC a physical retail stores in Staten Island that offered safe, legally compliant smoke vape products to promote health and leisure.
Brian Stark Enterprises LLC- Owned by Brian Stark in the Long Island Region of New York State. For (11) years Brian Stark, a justice involved applicant, owned & operated Aqua wash laundry corp., a self-serve laundry mat based out of Brooklyn that provided wash & fold services, dry cleaning services, and retail items for laundry.
Albert D Capraro- Owned by Albert Capraro in the Long Island Region of New York State. For 10 years, Albert Capraro, a justice-involved applicant, owned & Operated Long Island Glass Replacement Inc, a retail storefront that sold glass doors, showers, windshields, and installations in Commack, New York.
Strain Stars LLC – Owned by Kamaldeep Singh, Tushar Mallick, Jasmin Kaur, Kamaldeep Singh, Darminder Sing, and Gurmeet Sing in the Long Island Region of New York State. For five years, Kamaldeep Singh, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Whitestone Mart Inc, a gas station in Whitestone, New York with a retail storefront attached to it. Singh also holds a hemp cannabinoid retail license issued by The Office of Cannabis Management.
Root 13, LLC- Owned by Harpreet Singh and Manjit Singh in the Long Island Region of New York State. For two years Harpreet Singh, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Just Accounting, LLC an accounting, tax, bookkeeping, and payroll company based out of Flushing, New York.
Growth Industries NY, LLC- Owned by Daniel Connolly and GI New York, LLC in the Long Island Region of New York State. For four years Daniel Connolly, a justice-involved applicant-owned & operated Hemp Clouds, LLC, a Retail Smoke Shop in Centereach, New York.
Keep it 100 LLC- Owned by Marquis Hayes, Christina Johnson, James Kahn and Kim Stetz in the Long Island Region of New York State. For five years, Marquis Hayes, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Brown Butter New York, a high-end catering & specialty foods company.
Hydo Phonics – Owned by John Alvarez and Bryan Whalen in the Long Island Region of New York State. For five years, John Alvarez, a justice-involved applicant and licensed contractor owned & operated J & G Construction Management a retail sale, home construction and remodel servicing business in Suffolk County.
Stage One Cannabis LLC – Owned by Nathaniel Innes, Galina German-Innes, Sugey Mirsky, and Joshua Mirsky in the Capital Region of New York State. For 11 years, justice-involved applicant Joshua Mirsky owed & operated Foster House Studios- Recording studio located in Albany, New York.
D-Andrews LLC- Owned by Donald Andrew in the Capital Region of New York State. For 10 years, Donald Andrew, a justice-involved applicant, owned D Andrew LLC and operated Vaped City Smoke Shop: a retail storefront specializing in smoking, vaping, CBD products, and accessories in Scotia, New York.
Essential Fowers- Owned by Matthew Robinson in the Capital Region of New York. For three years, Matthew Robinson, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Bold Mold Eliminators, a payroll inventory company based out of Albany that provided customer cleaning, construction point of sale, and talent acquisition.
Capital District Cannabis & Wellness Inc. - Owned by James Frese and Pasha Adams in the Capital Region of New York. For seven years, justice-involved applicant, James Frese owned & operated Saratoga Catering Company LLC, a deli & pizzeria serving produce, sandwiches & woodfired pizza, plus catering services for parties and events located in Albany, New York.
William Durham – Owned by William Durham in the Southern Tier Region of New York State. For five years, William Durham a justice-involved applicant, Durham owned & operated WH Convenience Store, a convenience store in Downtown Binghamton, New York that supplied lotto, tobacco, and cold and hot food.
Union Chill Cannabis NY LLC – Owned by Joshua Canfield and Union Chill Cannabis Company LLC in the Southern Tier Region of New York State. For three years, Joshua Canfield, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Next Level Wellness, a licensed Hemp Retailer New York State.
Cured NY, LLC- Owned by Francis Russo in the Mohawk Valley Region of New York State. For six years, Francis Russo, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Premium MFG, LLC, an Oneonta-based design & printing business that offers graphic design products & services through its e-commerce store.
Brent L Rogers- owned by Brent Rogers in the North Country Region of New York State. For six years, Brent Rogers, a justice-involved applicant, owned & operated Beechnut Ridge Property Management as a General Contractor.
8 Nonprofits Granted NY Cannabis Licenses
Housing Works Cannabis, LLC - HOUSING WORKS
Housing Works is a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, including the recently incarcerated. The New York City-based nonprofit is the nation’s largest community-based AIDS service group as well as the nation’s largest minority-controlled AIDS organization. It serves over 15,000 people annually through primary and mental health care, case management, reentry services, job training, behavioral health, and more. Their Justice Initiative, launched in 2018, focuses on catering those services to New Yorkers recently released from incarceration, tailoring their work to the specific needs of that population. Housing Works operates 12 thrift shops, a bookstore café, and a processing and distribution center; all of which employ graduates of their job training and peer training programs and are designed to give them work experience that will help them build for the future.
The Doe Store LLC - Doe Fund
The Doe Fund was founded in 1987 to break the vicious cycle between mass incarceration, criminal recidivism, and intractable poverty. The Doe Fund is known for its landmark initiative, “Ready, Willing & Able,” which provides temporary work, transitional housing, continuing education, career training, and emotional counseling to New York City’s marginalized populations—with a specific focus on supporting people released from prison. Many Ready, Willing & Able participants pursue the Culinary Arts as their occupational training track, paving the way for diverse careers in the food service industry. Dishes by Doe is a full-service, cost-effective catering business that also provides hands-on training and paid work for Culinary Arts program trainees and graduates.
Urban Weeds LLC - Urban Upbound
Urban Upbound is a Queens-based organization that assists individuals, including formerly incarcerated New Yorkers, looking for employment. The services they provide include 1-on-1 career counseling, sector-focused job readiness training, financial counseling and job placement and retention services for unemployed and underemployed youth and adults. It also operates the Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union (UUFCU), which serves as an important pillar of the Urban Upbound model and an anchor in the community, connecting Queens residents to financial products that promote long-term asset building and economic mobility that are not available through mainstream banks.
CWS Holdings I, LLC -- Challenge Industries
Challenge Industries is a non-profit organization based in Ithaca, New York that for over 50 years has been committed to creating pathways to employment for people with disabilities or barriers to resources such as justice-involved individuals. Since 1968 Challenge has served over 700 individuals involved with the justice system by providing them with programs that range widely, from pre-vocational services, which offer training and experience in general work skills, to direct placement, which provides jobseekers with the tools and supports to secure full-time employment with opportunity for career advancement. Challenge is a partner agency in Workforce Development and has close working relationships with the Tompkins County Department of Social Services, local community service agencies and schools, and ongoing relationships with over 250 employers in Tompkins and surrounding counties in upstate New York.
NYCCABUDS - Center for Community Alternatives
The Center of Community Alternatives has been a leader in community-based alternatives to incarceration for over 40 years. The organization provides services to communities in New York City, Rochester and Syracuse, including gender-based substance treatment and recovery communities, sentence mitigation, court advocacy, workforce readiness, civic restoration services, emergency/transitional housing, student advocacy, violence prevention, and youth mentoring as well as after-school programming and career exploration for justice-involved youth. Part of the Center of Community Alternatives’ reintegration services includes community-based workforce programs that train justice-involved individuals to prepare for, find, keep and advance in gainful employment.
Kush & Kemet LLC - LIFE CAMPS
Founded in 2002, LIFE Camps (Love Ignites Freedom Through Education) is a community organization that is a leader in violence prevention and intervention in the country. Investing in local youth's educational and social development while offering resources for families that have been inaccessible in the past. LIFE Camp says it has contributed to a decline in crime since its founding and through alternative community initiatives that provide mental, physical, and emotional wellness needs of parents and families impacted by the trauma of gun violence.
On Point Cannabis, INC. - Broome County Urban League
Since 1968, the Broome County Urban League (BCUL) has provided social services for their local community in Binghamton, New York. The BCUL focuses on youth development through after-school programs, tutoring and mentorship opportunities, technology classes, and workforce development. BCUL is committed to supplying justice-involved individuals with resources and education. All programs are available for all, regardless of age. From 2012-2018 the BCUL co-led a work program that employed justice-involved individuals and others from hard-to-reach populations providing vocational opportunities to increase employability skills.
GOTHAM CAURD - STRIVE, Inc.
Founded in 1984, STRIVE has been a national leader in helping those facing the biggest societal barriers to employment. Providing training and support to justice-involved individuals, STRIVE has worked to build careers and assist individuals in achieving economic empowerment. Through their re-entry programs STRIVE has administered one federal grant serving 3,500 justice-impacted adults and youth, across 10 U.S. cities. With a long history of serving justice-involved individuals, STRIVE has transformed the lives of more than 80,000 participants by successfully helping them enter and re-enter the workforce through their STRIVE Career Path and STRIVE Future Leaders.