For the better part of two years, the cannabis industry has been fixated on New York’s cannabis roll out. And it’s been painfully slow. Two stories today looking at the current state of the state.
A 5-minute read from JB and JR
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Hochul wants more crackdowns on illicit stores
What’s happening: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed new legislation that would increase the state’s ability to enforce and close illicit cannabis shops in her State of the State address on Tuesday.
What’s in the proposal: If passed, the new legislation would expand the power of the Office of Cannabis Management, the state’s primary regulatory agency, to padlock illicit shops as well as authorize local jurisdictions to close shops on the OCM’s behalf.
The state would also share a directory of licensed cannabis businesses with towns and cities to expedite the whole process.
Why it matters: Enforcing illicit cannabis stores — and encouraging customers to buy legal — has been an uphill challenge in New York, as longtime Cultivated readers are undoubtedly aware.
This new legislation would streamline the closure process, allowing the state much more freedom to enforce rule breakers. The hope is that legal stores won’t have to continue to compete with untaxed, noncompliant illicit stores.
What they’re saying: “When New Yorkers choose to shop at a legal, adult-use dispensary, they know where their products are coming from, that these cannabis products have been tested, and that these small businesses are reinvesting in our communities. As more retail locations open their doors to customers across the state, we have to be abundantly clear about what kind of market we are building,” Chris Alexander, the OCM’s executive director, said.
“With Governor Hochul’s proposed expansion of enforcement powers, we get to expand our efforts to build a market where small businesses who follow the rules, have a shot to compete.”
NO APPLE JUICE
Big cannabis companies don’t want New York 🍎
While six MSOs, including Columbia Care and Curaleaf, got the green light to enter the market in December, only one has so far.
Why it matters: I’m not going to beat a dead horse about New York’s struggles to get a functioning cannabis industry up-and-running in a timely fashion.
It seems that the real sticking point here, though, is the $5 million license fee that big companies have to pay to enter the market.
That fee, coupled with the proliferation of illicit shops who can undercut the legal ones on price, makes the market simply unappealing for companies that need to show shareholders a growing bottom line.
What they’re saying: “The juice isn’t worth the squeeze,” an MSO employee told Green Market Report.