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NYC cannabis board advances programs to allow people with prior marijuana-related criminal offenses to make first adult-use cannabis sales

Posted at 7:12 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 19:14:46-05

NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York State plans to give to give people who have been convicted of having marijuana related criminal offenses the first chance to receive a cannabis license.

Governor Kathy Hochul made an announcement about the initiative, Thursday.

These licenses are awarded in an effort to correct what the state calls past "inequities" of the justice system, which involved a large number of people of color being charged for drug crimes.

New York State is the first in the nation to roll out with this kind of initiative.

These products will be grown by New York farmers.

The Cannabis Control Board met to discuss the new initiative called "Seeding Opportunity Initiative", Thursday afternoon.

The initiative is made up of three programs, only two of the three programs advanced during the boarding meeting.

The first is called "Equity Owners Lead Program". This gives priority to eligible equity business owner applicants.

The second is "Farmers First Program". This program puts hemp farmers first on the list to grow cannabis in the state of New York's adult-use market.

The third is the New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Program remains under discussion with the legislature.

Cannabis Control Board chair, Tremaine Wright said, "A plan to jumpstart cannabis cultivation and lay the ground work for future adult-use dispensaries. Additionally, this plan will tie our goal and mandate to provide social and equity applicants with the resources they need to be successful."

According to the board, there is no residency requirement for the initiative.

However, there is a requirement that said convicted person must have been convicted in the state of New York.

Lawmakers like New York State Senator George Borrello, who covers the 57th district, believes in second chances but says this type of initiative would not be allowed in the liquor license realm and should be treated as such.

"A liquor license will require an extensive background check and if you are a convicted felon, you're just not going to get a liquor license. The reason is they want to keep organized crime and criminals out of the business. In this care, we're talking about priotizing convicted drug felons to receive these licenses," NYS Senator George Borrello said.

This was the board's 7th meeting.

The next board meeting has yet to be announced.