Cannabis Management Control Board passes licensing regulations

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — New York State will be the first in the nation to offer retail marijuana sales licenses to people who were previously arrested and convicted of offenses related to pot.

Thursday afternoon, the State’s Office of Cannabis Management Control Board also voted and passed licensing regulations. The Office is scheduled to open the application process later this year, and there are specific criteria you must meet to move forward.

There will be two types of prioritized licensing. One for hemp farmers seeking to grow adult-use cannabis starting in the spring, and licenses for people with prior pot convictions.

The Board said these individuals must meet certain requirements including, providing proof that they or a very close family member was arrested and convicted of a marijuana offense. The individual must also provide their permanent address at the time of their arrest, and conviction. This will help prove they lived in an area where pot was over-criminalized. Lastly, marijuana retail sales licenses will only go to these individuals who also have a background in owning or operating a small business.

"For this group of dispensaries, we’d like to look at the way these individuals have run their business, and make sure that we look for successful businesses that have an opportunity to really grow and create opportunities," said OCM Chief of Staff Axel Bernabe.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is proposing to spend $200 million from this year’s state budget to help support newly created cannabis businesses across the state.