Smaller Players Squeezed Out of NY Licensing Process

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Strict rules, huge financial requirements and stiff competition appear to be deterring smaller businesses from vying for medical marijuana licenses in New York – which is what some observers expected would happen all along.

Take the case of Adam Kurtz, who has grown flowers on a farm in New York for nearly three decades.

He had been attempting to raise $400,000 to apply for one of the five cultivation/distribution licenses the state plans to hand out and start his operations should he win a permit.

But Kurtz has abandoned those plans because he feels mom-and-pop operations stand little chance of winning, Crain’s New York Business reported.

Kurtz will sell his farm and head for greener cannabis pastures in Oregon, which is setting up a recreational marijuana program.

Kurtz said he wonders if winners have essentially already been chosen on the sly, as some companies are moving forward with development of potential cultivation sites.

Valley Agriceuticals purchased 100 acres in the Wallkill, for instance, and has already started building – even though the state hasn’t awarded any licenses yet, the newspaper said.

Other big players in the MMJ industry have thrown their hats in the ring, including Long Island’s PalliaTech – which has already won licenses in Illinois and New Jersey – and Citiva Medical, whose founder developed the Charlotte’s Web CBD strain.

Scores of applicants have reportedly applied for licenses in New York, many of them larger companies.