New York’s First Legal Dispensary is Open: What That Means for CBD Retailers

Ronn Torossian
2 min readJan 29, 2023

Back in November, New York took a significant step toward launching the first legal market for recreational cannabis as it approved over 35 organizations to operate retail dispensaries with licenses in the state. The New York State cannabis regulators also stated that they hoped to have the first locations for retail dispensaries opened by the end of the year, and as the end of 2022 came, the first legal recreational cannabis shop opened in New York. This came after over a year since the state of New York first legalized the drug as there were numerous delays in setting up the new market.

First licensed dispensary

The state of New York first legalized marijuana back in March 2021, with lawmakers in the state making it a requirement for licensed retailers to only sell the products to adults that were over 21 years old. Additionally, the first licenses that the state awarded were to entrepreneurs that had prior arrests or convictions in relation to marijuana. The state of New York also initially promised that it would look for storefronts that were ready to open and provide business loans to the first people receiving a license for their businesses. The state also said that any non-profit organizations that decided to work with people that have been previously incarcerated could qualify for a license, however, this has been a long process.

Future of CBD retail

There were numerous changes in the guidelines that were issued to the retailers in New York that received licenses to open dispensaries in the last few months. Some of them included the fact that all store owners could secure a warehouse that would be able to fulfill all of their delivery orders for a year while they were building a permanent retail location. Another change was that every dispensary could employ up to 21 delivery drivers, and the deliveries could be handled via cars or scooters, bicycles, and other modes of transportation.. At the beginning of the guideline debates, everyone that received a retail license was told that they would get a storefront, unfortunately, that also changed in the middle of the last year, as business owners would get to choose their own retail locations according to the changes in guidelines, while still receiving funding from the state to do so. It’s safe to say that, for retailers, the guidelines for legal cannabis sales in New York will continue to evolve, meaning that businesses will need to stay on top of legislation and prepare to pivot their operations and marketing strategies as the rules change.

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Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is Chairman & Founder of 5WPR, one of America’s leading & largest PR Agencies and the Author of the best-selling PR book: "For Immediate Release"