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Retail cannabis questions, how application for conditional licenses could be informative for others

The opening of any application will mark a big step forward for the Office of Cannabis Management but it's taken longer than expected to get to this point.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York's retail cannabis market continues to take shape with the first application for those with marijuana convictions scheduled to come out next week.

It will mark a big step forward for the Office of Cannabis Management website but getting to this point has taken longer than expected, which has led to a lot of questions from prospective business owners.

The “CAURD” or Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary program application is set to open on August 25 and remain open until September 26. The application will be reserved for individuals with prior marijuana convictions and certain family members, but according to Associate Attorney Ryan McCall from the law firm Tully Rinckey PLLC. it might also be valuable to those seeking to apply for a standard license in the future.

That’s because McCall believes the two applications: the one for "CAURD” and the standard application, expected to be released this fall, will be similar. So even if you don’t have a cannabis conviction filling out a mock “CAURD” application could help.

“Definitely begin doing the application. There is no harm that could come from it and frankly, I think it would give those people a good road map going forward because I'm sure there may be differences, but the road maps are really going to be the same for retail cannabis licenses,” said McCall.

If you are planning to apply either next week for a conditional license or when the standard licensing system comes online McCall recommended a couple of things:

  •  First and foremost, he advised creating a detailed business plan for your potential dispensary. He said it doesn't have to be professionally done but McCall predicts the more information available to the Office of Cannabis Management, the higher the likelihood of an application moving forward.
  • The second thing is checking what zoning rules might apply because not all cities, towns, and villages have signed on to having dispensaries.
  • And thirdly McCall said if you need financial assistance, searching for funding now may prove invaluable because historically he said some banks have been wary to adopt.

A lot of the smaller banks a lot of the smaller credit unions were saying hey we just want to take a step back and have a wait and see approach now that I really think you're beginning to see the regulations somewhat trickle out I think you're going to start to see these larger banks and even the smaller banks are going to begin accepting this more and more until it becomes commonplace,” McCall added. 

The State Office of Cannabis Management has said it will start with between 100-200 conditional dispensary licenses for those with marijuana convictions. A spokesperson added last week that beyond that it’s too early to know how many standard applicants will get the ‘ok’ for their venture.

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