Cannabis MSOs get OK to enter New York adult-use market Dec. 29

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Cannabis multistate operators with medical marijuana licenses in New York received the green light from state regulators Friday to enter the adult-use market on Dec. 29, exactly one year after the state launched recreational sales.

The Cannabis Control Board’s approval had been anticipated for months, but the decision marks a controversial milestone in the rollout of the state’s recreational marijuana market.

It follows the New York State Supreme Court’s Dec. 1 decision to lift an injunction that had prevented regulators from handing out new adult-use business licenses.

The CCB, at its meeting Friday, approved the following six registered organizations, New York’s version of MSOs:

  • Columbia Care NY, whose parent is New York-based MSO The Cannabist Co.
  • Curaleaf NY, part of New York-headquartered MSO Curaleaf Holdings.
  • Etain, owned by RIV Capital, a Toronto-based investment firm.
  • NYCanna, part of New York-headquartered MSO Acreage Holdings.
  • PharmaCann of New York, whose parent is Chicago-based MSO PharmaCann.
  • Valley Agriceuticals, whose parent is Chicago-headquartered MSO Cresco Labs.

“We are delighted that the Office of Cannabis Management recommended us to the Cannabis Control Board for adult use approval,” PharmaCann spokesperson Jeremy Unruh told MJBizDaily via email.

“As we’ve done for nearly a decade, we will serve our Empire State consumers with the finest cannabis products available anywhere.”

Green Market Report first reported the approvals.

In June, MJBizDaily reported that the state’s Office of Cannabis Management proposed that MSOs could enter the recreational market by year-end, effectively eliminating a three-year waiting period for the state’s 10 vertically integrated medical marijuana providers, or registered organizations (ROs).

Regulators had adopted the waiting period to provide a first-to-market advantage for social equity retailers and smaller suppliers, but they shifted gears in an effort to expand retail channels and accelerate business as hundreds of unlicensed marijuana stores proliferated the market, particularly in New York City.

That first-to-market advantage was largely erased as approvals for hundreds of Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) applicants and licensees were delayed for months because of lawsuits over the licensing process and social equity provisions.

The OCM on Friday also dealt a blow to the state’s small contingent of craft cultivators.

The agency announced the state’s Cannabis Growers Showcase program would be scrapped by year-end – contrary to the wishes of smaller growers.

The showcases, which range from farmers market-like setups to more conventional retail experiences, were designed to help marijuana cultivators sell off a glut of inventory left over from last year.

The showcase program has generated more than $4 million in sales this year, according to the state.

Retailers in New York have generated more than $110 million in sales this year, far below the billion-dollar projections before the launch of adult-use sales.

New York operators told MJBizDaily in November that the showcase was “a lifeline.”

“There’s not enough distribution for small farmers,” Wyatt Harms, the co-founder and CEO of Brooklyn-based pre-roll brand Flamer, said at the time, adding that many invested their life savings into legal marijuana.

“I don’t know why you would stop a program that is providing at least some relief to the farmers.”

The OCM on Friday said 31 adult-use stores are open statewide.

Chris Casacchia can be reached at