NYC mayor pitches $4.8 million plan to aid marijuana equity entrepreneurs

Women, minority execs show few gains in U.S. cannabis industry, according to the latest data from the MJBiz Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Report. Get your copy here.

New York’s mayor wants the city to spend $4.8 million in part to help individuals affected by marijuana-related offenses apply for business licenses and obtain financing and real estate for legal cannabis companies.

The plan bolsters state efforts to assist individuals and communities affected by the war on drugs as well as create a diverse recreational marijuana industry.

“Now is the time for our city to make proactive investments to ensure the people disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of these substances can reap the benefits of the new industry,” Mayor Eric Adams, a former law enforcement officer, said in a statement released on 4/20, the unofficial marijuana holiday.

The mayor’s plan, which is being included in his proposed budget, also could help bring legacy operators and other illicit businesses into the state-legal market, which is expected to launch late this year or early next year.

Illicit shops – including vendors out in the open – have flourished in recent weeks and months.

In addition to proposing the $4.8 million investment, Adams recently floated an idea of allowing rooftop cannabis greenhouses in public housing.

New York has a goal of issuing 50% of all adult-use licenses to equity businesses and also wants to create a $200 million public-private fund to help support those entrepreneurs.

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Most recently, the state said the initial round of 100-200 recreational cannabis retail licenses would focus on applicants with marijuana-related convictions or relatives of those individuals.

The 2022 MJBiz Factbook projects that annual sales of New York’s recreational marijuana industry will reach $1 billion-$1.2 billion in 2023 and $2.2 billion-$2.7 billion by 2026.