Cannabis Legislative & Licensing Update: January 04, 2023
How to Win a Cannabis License in 2023? Start Now.
New York Cannabis Licenses
What better way to ring in the new year than with some news from New York. We have seen the first round of regulations unveiled in the Empire State and, more recently, the first legal sale in a licensed dispensary in New York City last week. The Office of Cannabis Management promised legal cannabis sales would begin before 2022’s end and it did succeed there, barely. A single dispensary at Housing Works in Manhattan opened its doors on December 29 and had the first cannabis sale, naturally, at 4:20pm EST.
The first dispensaries to open in New York will be the conditional adult-use retail dispensary licenses, awarded to those with past cannabis convictions. As we see more conditional licenses being awarded, we have also entered the public comment period for proposed adult-use license regulations which will last into February. Revised and finalized regulations will come after this period along with the application window.
Right now, the best thing prospective applicants can do is to review the proposed regulations and begin gathering necessary documentation such as letters of support, financial and founding business documents, and creating plans that will be required pre- and post-licensure. Our team of New York cannabis consultants has scoured the draft regulations and have identified plenty of ways to organize a plan of attack for this lengthy application (the regulations themselves are nearly 300 pages long and we expect them to be even longer soon!) so it’s better to get moving now than to wait until an application window opens.
Cannabis License Applications in Florida and Texas
Things aren’t just heating up in the north, we have some exciting news in the south too as Florida released emergency rules announcing imminent application windows along with the application itself for its medical marijuana treatment centers. The application itself is similar to the Pigford application from last year. Currently, Florida has 22 licensed verticals in operation with nine more expected to be licensed in 2023. Given the application’s similarity to the Pigford app, we can expect those applicants from last year to have a leg up. So once application windows are announced, be prepared to move quickly. Now is a good time to start planning by writing business plans and generating financial models.
Similar to Florida, we have heard rumblings about movement in another southern state – Texas. The Lone Star State seems to be indicating an application window for its medical market as soon as this month. It is likely this window will open with little notice and could be anytime. Rules are supposedly set to change and the application itself has not been announced, like we saw in Florida. If Florida is offering a potential sprint for its license application window, Texas is indicating a sprint with hurdles. Now is the time to get your pillars (your facility, personnel, finances, vendors, and local support) in order and familiarize yourself with the current Texas regulations to craft your business model with the state’s limitations.
Contact Legislators in States that are Still Pending Legalization
And finally, we swing back to the east coast to check in on Virginia. We are anticipating a potential application this summer after state Republican lawmakers filed a new cannabis sales bill for 2023. The state has seen little in the way of cannabis movement for years and this would be a huge opportunity given that there are only 11 currently licensed medical dispensaries in Virginia. Controversy has already been fierce about this latest Republican led cannabis effort given concerns over its social equity provisions. This bill says that regulators with the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority would need to promulgate rules to implement the law by September 1, 2023. However, they couldn’t issue new licenses until July 1, 2024. So for now, be patient, Virginians.
2023 is shaping up to be an active year in the cannabis industry with decriminalization or legalization efforts expected in Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and the US Virgin Islands. And we at Canna Advisors are happy to help with any of your licensing needs.
Cannabis news is changing faster than we can get it posted, so check back often for updates and book time to talk with our winning team of cannabis consultants who have helped clients in 36 states win licenses and start cannabis businesses.