NY Cannabis Takes Off!

Originally Published : September 2, 2022

CAURD stands for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary, and this class of licenses will be the first recreational dispensary licenses issued in the State of New York. Winners of these licenses will not only receive a license certificate, but they will also receive the keys to a fully built-out dispensary.  New York State will take care of the lion’s share of the up-front heavy lifting here – identifying qualified locations throughout the state, locking up leases for license winners, and then designing and building them out.  While we applaud the effort, completing the application is still tricky and overwhelming.  I’ve spent a lot of time on the portal since it opened last week, and you really must be prepared for this.  It’s hardly a library card application.

I found that the online application process has many places to get tripped up – especially if you don’t complete government-issued applications for a living, like I do.  So we decided to share our knowledge to help all CAURD applicants file a better application via a live, free webinar.  I’ve called upon a few industry friends to assist in the breakdown as well, and to provide some invaluable insights.
Please join us on Wednesday, September 14th at 3:00 PM EST for

The Essential Tips and Tricks

In the meantime, we’ve put together a list of the most common FAQs from our recent calls and interactions with prospective CAURD applicants. Check them out below…

Q: What is the CAURD License?
A: CAURD stands for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary. This class of licenses will be the first recreational dispensary licenses issued in the State of New York.

Q: How do I know if I’m eligible?
A: There are essentially two sets of eligibility criteria: one is for individuals or new businesses, and one is for existing nonprofits.  We’ll stick with the former for purposes of this FAQ, as that seems to be our audience here.

To qualify for a CAURD license, at least 30% of the applicant business must be owned by an individual or individuals that are: a) Justice involved; b) have qualifying business experience; c) have sole control of the business; and d) have a significant presence in New York.  Additionally, the applicant business must be majority owned (>50%) by justice involved individuals.

Q: What does “Justice involved” mean?
A: Generally, anyone who was convicted of a marijuana-related offense in New York State before March 31, 2021 would qualify.  One would also be considered “justice involved” if the conviction applies to their parent, guardian, spouse OR their child or dependent.

Q: I have a marijuana conviction in New York, but I’m not sure about the business part.  What do I need to show?
A: A “qualifying business” is one that had a net profit for at least two years while it was in operation.  Any business can be a qualifying business, technically, regardless of what the business actually is/was.  The justice involved individual must have owned a minimum of 10% of this qualifying business to satisfy this requirement, and thus to be eligible for a CAURD license.

Q: I am eligible for CAURD, but I don’t want the State to just select a location for me.  Is there a way that I can apply for this license, but ask to operate out of an alternative location that I have picked?
A: No.  The nice part of this program is that the State does all of the upfront heavy lifting for you and handles design and construction as well.  The not-so-nice part is that you don’t get to choose your actual location and will have limited say, if any, when it comes to the layout and design.  If you’re interested in putting a dispensary in a specific space, you should gear up to do so when the full application window opens in the future.  Your status as a justice involved individual will still play well there, and you will be able to file under a social equity designation.

Q: Do we really get no say whatsoever over where our dispensary will be located, assuming we win?
A: You do get some broad input, but that’s it.  The State has chopped itself up into 14 “Regions.”  They are: Brooklyn, Capital Region, Central NY, Finger Lakes, Long Island, Manhattan, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Queens, Southern Tier, Staten Island, Bronx, Western NY.  On your CAURD application, you get to pick your top 5 choices of Region.  The reviewers will “do their best” to find you a location within your region(s) of choice, but no promises.

Q: Do we know exactly how many CAURD licenses will be issued?
A: The State is prepared to issue up to 150 CAURD licenses, but they don’t have to issue 150.  They have also come up with a “maximum” number of licenses that they would issue within each of the 14 regions.

While our focus is on the CAURD application, specifically, this upcoming webinar is not just for those that qualify for CAURD.  We’re going to be sharing a ton of valuable insights throughout this program that transcend all license application types.  So, if you have interest in cannabis licensing in general, you may want to tune in.  See you there.

Joey Regs Out.