New York has begun issuing the first licenses for legal marijuana dispensaries around the state. According to multiple news sources around the area, 36 different dispensary licenses were issued Monday. This signifies a monumental step in legal marijuana for the state.

175 total licenses will be distributed over the coming months. Many of those licenses will go to those with past convictions for marijuana offenses. Of these 36 issued licenses currently, many are expected to open their shop doors by the end of the year.

New York also set aside over $200 million in a public-private fund to aid “social equity” applicants, negating the effects of the war on drugs, this is especially the case in communities of color.

Tremaine Wright, chairman of the Cannabis Control Board had this to say about the licenses, “Today is a monumental day for New York’s nascent cannabis industry. With the first adult-use retail dispensary licenses in the hands of businesses and eligible nonprofits, we’ve ensured the first sales will be made at dispensaries operated by those impacted by the unjust enforcement of cannabis prohibition,”

New York legalized marijuana in March of 2021 and is still processing many of the applicants. After processing, licenses will be distributed and legal dispensaries will be flourishing in the state as early as next year.

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