New York Announces $200 Million Fund for Social Equity Initiatives in the State’s Marijuana Market
New York is creating a $200 million public-private fund to promote social equity in the state’s Cannabis industry. The fund will support social equity applicants as they plan for and build out their Cannabis operations. Governor Kathy Hochul’s (D) administration, leading the initiative, released a “State of the State” book detailing her 2022 policy goals.
“While New York has committed to making its Cannabis industry more equitable, this action will put that commitment into practice. New York will lead where many other states have fallen short,” the document says. “This fund will provide direct capital and startup financing to social equity applicants as the State takes meaningful steps to ensuring that New York’s Cannabis industry is the most diverse and inclusive in the nation.”
Marijuana business licenses have yet to be approved since marijuana was legalized for possession and public consumption on March 31 of last year by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). The bill also wiped previous marijuana convictions off the records of New York citizens. The current administration has a goal to issue at least 50 percent of Cannabis business licenses to social equity applicants, which was defined as those from communities disproportionately impacted by the drug war, minorities, women, distressed farmers, and service-disabled veterans.
Existing vertically-integrated medical marijuana operators will likely be first to market, as they will be allowed to transition to the recreational market for a fee.
New York regulators set out an 18 month timeline from the legislation’s passing last March, to roll out a billion-dollar market plan, which would fall between August and September of 2022. However, industry experts do not see recreational establishments opening or sales beginning until early in 2023.