‘We’re being set up to fail’: New York cannabis advertising restrictions pummeling dispensaries – syracuse.com

Ellis Soodak opened Verdi, the first legal adult-use dispensary in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, about a month and a half ago. Already, he’s grappling with a regulatory issue that he believes could destroy businesses: advertising and marketing restrictions.

“We are really struggling to break even. I know for a fact that there are several stores that are really hurting,” Soodak said. “We’re being set up to fail, 100 percent.”

New York’s Cannabis Control Board finalized regulations that govern the state’s legal cannabis industry in September, including rules for how weed businesses are and are not allowed to advertise their products and stores. The rules prevent dispensaries from buying billboard ads, and stop all companies from using marketing techniques that could be attractive to children.

Business owners and prospective licensees in the Empire State’s cannabis industry have been criticizing the Office of Cannabis Management’s rules for advertising as overly broad and stringent since they were first proposed at a CCB meeting in 2022. Now that an increasing number of dispensaries are opening across the state, store owners are saying they’re prohibited from doing basic advertising, and potential customers don’t even know they exist.

“It’s an existential thing,” Soodak told NY Cannabis Insider. “The fact of the

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