New York has yet to cash in on legal marijuana as it struggles to open enough retail dispensaries and rein in illicit operators. This week, regulators announced an expansive new framework that will make licenses available to the general public as well as large multistate manufacturers and medical companies. While likely to be a boon for the state’s overall legal market, the change might leave behind hundreds of social-equity businesses that have been unable to open amid legal challenges to their legitimacy. A woman walks by a smoke shop in New York City that displays a marijuana leaf in the window, June 16, 2023. Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Coss Marte’s marijuana dispensary in lower Manhattan has already cost him over $1 million, and it’s not even open yet.
He was awarded a coveted dispensary license last year on the basis of his prior marijuana-related convictions. It was a part of New York’s Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary, or CAURD, program, which has thus far limited retail licenses only to this group.