NEW YORK (1010 WINS/WCBS 880) — A year and a half after legalizing cannabis in New York, the state's Cannabis Control Board announced the approval of 36 licenses at a public hearing on Monday.
They're the first group, including 28 qualifying businesses and 8 nonprofit applicants, that will be legally allowed to sell in New York.
"The industry is going to offer consumers ample choice and create protections for small businesses that ensure the wealthy and well connected do not dominate the market," said Chris Alexander, board executive director.
Here is a list of the first legal recreational license recipients in New York City and on Long Island:
New York City
— Gabbys Green LLC (Queens)
— Carl M Anderson III (the Bronx)
— Royal Leaf NY (the Bronx)
— Nube NYC LLC (the Bronx)
— CGG Enterprises Inc. (Queens)
— Florisun LLC (Manhattan)
— SAMJNY Holdings LLC (Staten Island)
— Anthony Crapanzano (Queens)
— Smacked LLC. (Manhattan)
— Eastern Holdings 88 LLC (Staten Island)
— Suzanne M Furboter (Queens)
— Gabriel Marin (Manhattan)
— Planet 51 LLC (Manhattan)
— Albert D Capraro
— Strain Stars LLC
— Root 13, LLC
— Brian Stark Enterprises LLC
— Hydo Phonics
— Keep it 100 LLC
— Growth Industries NY, LLC
Nonprofits granted licenses
— Housing Works Cannabis, LLC - HOUSING WORKS
— Urban Weeds LLC - Urban Upbound
— NYCCABUDS - Center for Community Alternatives
— The Doe Store LLC - Doe Fund
— On Point Cannabis, INC. - Broome County Urban League
— CWS Holdings I, LLC - Challenge Industries
— Kush & Kemet LLC - LIFE CAMPS
— GOTHAM CAURD - STRIVE, Inc
In keeping with past promises, most licenses are going to those who have been previously convicted of a pot-related offense, along with non-profits that help those coming out of prison.
The state is doing most of the legwork by providing locations and loans.
Some of the dispensaries, selected from a pool of more than 900 applicants, are expected to open by the end of the year.
New York has also planned a $200 million public-private fund to aid "social equity" applicants to help redress the ravages of the war on drugs, especially in communities of color.
A court ruling earlier this month has delayed the board from approving dispensaries in some parts of the state amid a legal dispute over licensing criteria. Nevertheless, officials said they would issue the remaining licenses as quickly as possible.
Angel Turuseta and Emely Chavez, who operate Royal Leaf NY in the Bronx, were among those snagging one of the first licenses.
“I’m still trying to comprehend it,” said Turuseta, who expressed surprise when contacted just after the board’s meeting.
Housing Works, a New York City nonprofit, said the license it got Monday would allow it to continue its work helping low-income New Yorkers living with HIV or AIDS.
"It was clear to us that sales from the legal recreational cannabis industry would allow us to help more people and increase services to our clients whether that is supporting those that have been unjustly incarcerated in the War on Drugs, or people experiencing homelessness and/or living with HIV/AIDS," the agency said in a statement.
With the first licenses now issued, it remained to be seen whether officials would step up their efforts to go after scores of unauthorized dispensaries opened in the past year by people who shrugged at licensing requirements.
New York legalized recreational use of marijuana in March 2021 but is still in the process of licensing people to sell it.
The cannabis board also advanced proposed regulations for the sale of marijuana, with a focus on public health, product quality and safety and preventing those under 21 from buying cannabis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.