New York OKs farmers market cannabis sales, hundreds of retail licenses

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New York cannabis regulators this week approved more than 200 social equity retail licenses and a novel plan to allow growers to sell marijuana at farmers markets and other venues beyond dispensaries.

The Cannabis Control Board on Wednesday approved 212 additional provisional Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses, nearly doubling the total to 463.

The CAURD program was established to enable applicants with low-level marijuana offenses and/or their family members to enter the legal industry.

In a significant policy shift, regulators also approved allowing cultivators to partner with CAURD retailers and processors to organize events for showcasing New York cannabis brands and selling licensed products to adults 21 and over.

Product can be sold, for example, at farmers markets or other state and locally approved locations.

The Cannabis Growers’ Showcase (CGS) initiative, which has run into delays, is a major development for expanding retail channels throughout the state.

“Not only does it allow farmers to process and sell their crops much faster, it enables consumers to have legal access to cannabis in parts of the state that currently do not have dispensaries,” regulators said in a news release.

However, there are some caveats:

  • Any event must obtain municipal approval unless held at a licensed retail dispensary.
  • Retail markups will be capped.
  • CGS events will include at least three cultivators partnering with a licensed adult-use dispensary.
  • One processor will also be allowed to sell products including edibles, beverages and vape cartridges.

The initiatives aim to increase retail locations amid the rocky rollout of adult-use sales in New York and jump-start a supply chain with limited sales outlets.

Only 20 retail outlets are licensed and open in all of New York, and four of those are delivery only, according to state data.

New York launched recreational sales statewide in late December.