New York Cannabis: $200 Million for Social Equity

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York will establish a $200 million fund to support social and economic equity applicants seeking adult-use cannabis licenses. Governor Hochul made the announcement during her State of the State address last week, on January 5, 2022.

It is really easy to talk about prioritizing cannabis social equity applicants in state licensure. New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) went beyond paying lip-service to prioritizing cannabis social equity applicants by doing two things: (i) setting a target goal of issuing 50% of licenses to social and economic equity applicants; and (ii) mandating incubator and financial assistance programs to be administered by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and the Urban Development Corporation.

Providing cannabis social equity applicants with the financial support and know-how necessary to succeed in the cut-throat world of cannabis production and distribution is critical to the success of a social equity program. Issuing 50% of licenses to social equity applicants is a hollow gesture if the licensees do not have the resources to succeed.

All of which to say that New York is putting its money where its mouth is with respect to the cannabis social equity program. Creating

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