Originally Published : September 20, 2021


  • Joey Regs with major cannabis update
  • Vaccine Mandate Webinar

Dear HL Clients and Friends,

As the virus variants traipse through the greek alphabet and out-of-town anti-vaxxers gone wild test the limits of our endurance, we mandate and we march on and we pray that this fall and winter are gentle in all respects.

As autumn approaches, the prevailing mood in F&B world is a mixture of caution, exhaustion and shallow optimism. While deals have slowed down slightly as the industry waits tentatively to see if we get a repeat of last years cool weather Covid spike, there remain many bright siders out there still plowing ahead with growth plans. Whatever the mood, everyone is just gassed from dealing with the constant, ever-changing stress of it all.  How could you not be?

An acknowledgement from our Dearly Elected that we still need help would be appreciated about now.  How about money to hire a security person to help us with the mandated law enforcement or safely relaxing the propane laws so that we can efficiently heat our outdoor space or replenishing the RRF as two-thirds of the applicants got nothing in what amounted to a botched, rando, government lottery?  And can we please make some noise that can be heard to bring back attention to our plight?  The “call your congressman” approach is putting zero pressure on DC and getting us nowhere so we need to ramp it up and get some media attention.  Any ideas?

Here’s the big news of the week….

HL Launches Trademark Practice

We are very pleased to announce that today,  Helbraun Levey is officially launching our Trademark practice.  Hamutal Lieberman will Chair the Trademark Group as we continue to expand our services to help our clients in the hospitality and cannabis industries.  Here’s Hamutal with why you need to trademark your name…

Protect Your Hustle- by Hamutal Lieberman, Chair, Trademark Group

A restaurant’s greatest asset is its brand, a stamp of quality assurance and an asset that appreciates with time. The most accessible and immediate signifier of a brand is a trademark; a single word or picture that can relay that quality assurance to customers.

When you open a restaurant or bar or invent a product, you are creating a brand. A registered trademark increases the value of your brand because you are obtaining the sole rights to use that trademark in connection with your goods and services. If you want to sell your restaurant someday, your buyer will want a trademark in place. They are buying the goodwill and value attached to your business and without trademark protection, your business will be far less valuable.  A trademark also provides you with the added protection against copycats who want to use your name or logo or concept and trade off the hard work and hustle that you put into making your place successful.

If you are considering filing a trademark or would like to learn more about the process, please contact me at [email protected].

Joey Regs says…

New York’s First Marijuana Retail License Applications are now Being Accepted!

As of this past Monday (September 13), The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe began accepting applications for marijuana retail licenses.  Now granted, this is only for Tribal members and only on Tribal land, but nonetheless, pretty damn cool to see.  Now it’s time for the rest of the State to get it together…and they are.

Cuomo’s resignation was a very good thing for NY’s cannabis program.  Kathy Hochul is a great advocate for cannabis legalization, has a history of working well with our State Legislators.  And the new Gov is making it quite clear that cannabis is a priority to her, as it should be to all NY legislators.

She called a special legislative session a few weeks ago, summoning all elected officials back, to install some long-overdue leadership appointments to the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board – the groups who will jointly develop the rules and regulatory framework that will govern recreational cannabis in this State.

In the next 30-days, the official rules and regulations should be officially developed and released.  And then, for all of you interested in participating, it’s off to the races.

Updated Timeline

If you recall, we’ve previously forecasted that the rules and regs of recreational cannabis would be released by late summer/early fall; with actual applications set to drop January 1. 2022.  By our estimation the former Gov wasted about five-six months, so we have to push back each of the above timelines accordingly.  However, with the combination of Hochul truly making this industry a priority, the very positive appointments AND New Jersey inching closer to coming online every day, my sources in Albany are now telling me that we can expect to see regs by the end of the year; with applications to follow by late spring early summer 2022.  Of course this is all subject to change, and we all know how many crazy variables there are, but this is the most up-to-the-moment timeline update that I have (as of Friday evening).

What happens between now and then?

First order of business is that the Gov must appoint individuals to occupy the last two seats on the Cannabis Control Board.  I understand that these individuals have already been identified, are being vetted, and announcements are forthcoming.  Once the Board is set, it’s all procedure from there.  The Board’s first action upon convening will be to authorize the Office of Cannabis Management to create the framework for cannabis legalization.  Inclusive within this edict will be authorizations to access budgetary dollars, hire staff and build out the new agency’s infrastructure. While the regulation drafting can happen parallel to this process, at least some of this foundational work will have to happen, before regulatory pen is put to paper.

Once the regs have been drafted, they will be released (projecting January 1, 2022), with a 60-day public comment period (projected to close ~ March 1, 2022).  They will then be amended accordingly and re-released, with a new 45-day public comment period (projected to close May 15, 2022 – June 1, 2022).  Then finally, official regs get published and applications drop (projecting July 1 – August 1, 2022).
*all subject to change

For anyone interested in getting into the cannabis business, I highly recommend checking out some of the trade shows that take place around the country.  They’re highly informative and very educational. The biggest and best show is scheduled to take place next month in Las Vegas: MJBizCon (https://mjbizconference.com/ ).  We’ll be out there in full force.  Please let us know if any of you will be attending, and we’ll be sure to link up.

Joey Regs Out

COVID EIDL CAP INCREASES TO $2 Million by Scotto & Melchiorre

The cap on EIDL loans has increased from 500K to $2 Million. For loans greater than $500,000, SBA will underwrite your loan. As part of its underwriting, SBA will perform a cash flow analysis for your business to confirm your business’s ability to repay the proposed COVID EIDL loan as well as your business’s existing debt obligation.

Timeline- SBA will begin approving loans greater than $500,000 on October 8, 2021

Implementation of a Deferred Payment Period – Loan payments will not begin until two years after loan origination.

Expansion of Eligible Use of Funds – Loan funds can be used for any normal operating expenses and working capital, including payroll, purchasing equipment, and paying debt. Additionally, funds will now be eligible to prepay commercial debt and make payments on federal business debt.

Personal Guaranty – For loans in excess of $200k, SBA requires a full personal guaranty from all individuals with 20% or more ownership (including all general partners, regardless of ownership).

For more information about SBA loans, please email to: [email protected]

WEBINAR ALERT: Vaccination Mandate with Lee and Chloe

On September 22, 2021 at 11:00 AM Lee Jacobs and Chloe Brownstein will be hosting our next HR Confidential Webinar entitled “Does the Key to NYC Actually Fit?” to discuss the Key to NYC vaccination mandate and the HERO ACT activation. You can register for the webinar here.  Lee and Chloe will be doing a deep dive on the vaccine mandate and more during this webinar.  We look forward to seeing you there!

As Billie Holiday so beautifully sings: On benches in Central Park, greet autumn in New York. It’s good to live it again.

Happy Autumn to you all,