Gov. Kathy Hochul says New York is “on track” to open some cannabis dispensaries within months — but industry leaders say they see only red signals ahead.
The state government set a goal of opening dispensaries by the end of the year that’ll allow New Yorkers to legally purchase cannabis. Hochul told the editorial board of Advance Media, owner of Syracuse Post-Standard, the state would open 20 dispensaries by the end of the year, with another 20 openings each month after.
Her plan is propped up by a $200 million loan fund to help people who have been negatively affected by weed-related convictions open their retail shops, with the first 150 licenses reserved for those with past records.
But players participating in the process warn the timetable may be unrealistic.
“We were really hoping for retail stores to be open on or around the time that cultivators were harvesting, it seemed like the best case scenario. But we’re really just not sure where these first retail stores are supposed to be,” said Dan Livingston, the executive director of the Cannabis Association of New York, a trade association.
Under Hochul’s plan, it’s up to the state to select and lease locations for the dispensaries, including 70 in