New York
Jun 2022
3 min

New York Social Equity Dispensary Licenses


New York currently has this social equity program for dispensary licenses in the state

  • Equity Owners Lead Program

Qualifying for Equity Licenses

The rules establish one types of social equity class that will receive priority review and approval in the dispensary application process:

Equity Owners Lead Program: Provides a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License to eligible equity-entrepreneur applicants, putting them at the front-end of the adult-use market. This first-round, equity-licensing opportunity will be supported with renovated or renovation-ready retail locations and wraparound services with dispensaries sited in high-traffic areas.  

To qualify for this program a person must:

  • Have a cannabis-related offense that occurred prior to the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA) on March 31, 2021 , or had a parent, guardian, child, spouse, or dependent with a pre-MRTA cannabis offense in the State of New York.  
  • Have experience owning and operating a qualifying business in the State of New York.  

Funding for Equity License Types

The New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Program:

  • Governor Hochul proposed this $200 million program in her Fiscal Year 2023 Executive Budget.
  • Through the program, industry licensing fees and private equity would support the development of dispensaries for equity-entrepreneurs with a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License.  
  • Under the proposal, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) would provide support with its leasing and construction services to site dispensaries at prime locations and renovate them to meet health, safety, and security requirements.
  • The proposal remains under discussion with the Legislature.  (as of March 2022)

When are These Licenses Available?

Applications for these priority licenses will open in the Summer of 2022. The first licenses are expected to be distributed by late summer or early fall 2022. This positions equity-entrepreneur-owned dispensaries to make the first adult-use cannabis sales in New York State by the end of 2022 while speeding the delivery of investments into communities across the state that were most impacted by the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition.

Why is this important?

It's important to know what types of social equity licenses are available in New York so that you understand the landscape of the New York market, and, if you apply, can better understand what the program is all about..

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