New York Set to Open Its Doors for Adult-use Cannabis Retail to Multistate Operators

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In a recent vote, New York regulators agreed to allow medical cannabis operators to apply for adult-use retail licenses.

New York regulators have voted in September 2023 to allow state medical cannabis operators to be able to apply for adult-use retail licenses. This poses a problem though for small businesses because multistate operators (MSOs) would be able to take part. Years ago, MSOs snatched a majority of New York’s 10 “registered organization” permits (1).

Resolutions that were approved by the Office of Cannabis Management will begin taking applications looking for a microbusiness or retail license, between October 4 – December 23, 2023. Registered organizations will also be accepted but during a unspecified window that will be “set by the Office” (1). This measure was a part of a separate resolution.

“Today marks a pivotal step toward expanding and sustaining the state’s medical program and creation of an economically viable and equitable adult-use cannabis industry in New York,” Barry Carmody, a spokesperson for the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association (NYMCIA), said after a Cannabis Control Board meeting in Albany (1).


Eight of the current medical cannabis licenses are represented by the NYMCIA. This includes major MSOs (1). For example, Columbia Care and Acreage Holdings, who are based in New York. As well as, Green Thumb Industries and Cresco Labs who are headquartered in Chicago and lastly, Curaleaf Holdings, who originates from Massachusetts.

According to MJBiz, the Office of Cannabis Management’s vote can be defined as (1):

  1. Litigation aimed at opening licensing to all applicants might be moot. The lawsuit was brought by some of those same MSOs, which sued the state in March under the name Coalition for Access to Safe and Regulated Cannabis.
  2. The state’s social equity applicants and licensees are feeling abandoned and betrayed. Many of them are still waiting to open their doors after bureaucratic delays and separate litigation encumbered the state’s ambitious Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program.

This vote took place not long after CEOs from four MSO operators asked New York Governor Kathy Hochul to permit them to enter the state’s adult-use market “without delay,” (1).

Small cannabis businesses have not taken this resolution well as they say it will harm their businesses. “Today’s Cannabis Control Board meeting opened the door for big cannabis to come in and compete with New York-based businesses,” the Cannabis Association of New York (CANY), which represents small and state-based businesses, said in a statement (1).

However, CANY enclosed demands to New York Regulators (1):

  • Reform the state’s potency tax that charges a higher rate for concentrates.
  • Impose identical canopy limits on “registered organizations” (ROs) and small businesses.
  • Crack down on the illicit market in the state. Estimates vary, but officials have said there are as many as 2,000 unlicensed sellers in New York City alone.

New York is undergoing a transformation within their state’s cannabis industry. With the permittance of MSOs now being allowed to enter the market, hopefully small businesses throughout New York State (NYS), such as Strain Stars, the first dispensary to open on Long Island (2) can succeed in the cannabis industry as well.


  1. Roberts, C. It’s Official: New York Will Open Adult-use Marijuana Retail to Multistate Operators (accessed Sep 13, 2023).
  2. Colli, M. First Recreational Cannabis Dispensary Opens on Long Island (accessed Sep 13, 2023).