New York Marijuana Social Equity Program

On March 31, 2021, New York State legalized adult-use cannabis by passing the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA). The New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will create a marijuana social and economic equity program.

The program will encourage communities disproportionally harmed by disparate drug enforcement to participate in the marijuana industry. MRTA provides three services for the social equity plan. They incentivize participation for individuals disproportionally impacted by cannabis prohibition. Additionally, the Department automatically expunges an individual’s past marijuana convictions. Finally, the department invests 40% of the adult use cannabis tax revenue toward rebuilding communities who suffer disproportionate impact from the war on drugs. The MRTA has a goal to award 50% of all adult-use licenses to social equity applicants.

There are several factors that will increase the probability of winning a license. These factors include the applicant having an income lower than 80% of the median in the county the applicant resides. The applicant must lives in a community disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous cannabis laws, and has been or is related to someone who has been previously convicted of a marijuana crime. Additionally, minority or women owned businesses, veterans, and distressed farmers will get preference in obtaining a license. We will continue to add updates about the licensing timeline as they become available.

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Posted in Seed to Sale by State.