New York's Legal Marijuana Industry Hits New High, Reaches Over 100 Licensed Shops Across Empire State

By Madz Dizon

Apr 11, 2024 08:02 PM EDT

New York's Legal Marijuana Industry Hits New High, Reaches Over 100 Licensed Shops Across Empire State
Customers purchase marijuana supplies at the Weed World store on March 31, 2021, in New York.
(Photo : KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Officials announced on Thursday that the legal cannabis industry in New York has reached a significant milestone, with over 100 licensed pot shops now operating throughout the Empire State.

Out of the 103 marijuana sellers currently operating, 44 can be found in the bustling city of New York.

Legal Marijuana Stores in New York Reaches New High

Another nineteen licensed weed operators are set to open soon, with the state Cannabis Control Board approving an additional 35 retail licenses on Thursday.

During the initial segment of the meeting, the board members granted approval to a number of resolutions, which included the authorization of nearly 100 additional adult use licenses.

Also, another enforcement measure was approved.

Chris Alexander, the executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management, described the updates as a "streamlining" process.

He also noted that there may be an increase in enforcement resolutions due to Governor Kathy Hochul's proposed enforcement plan, which is currently overdue.

According to John Kagan, the policy director of the state Office of Cannabis Management, sales of legal marijuana from cannabis shops saw a significant increase of 32% in the first three months of 2024.

The sales reached $85 million, compared to $62 million in the previous quarter of 2023, according to NY Post.

There has been a significant increase in the number of cannabis stores opening in the past few months. State regulators acknowledged the ongoing challenge posed by the significant underground cannabis market.

They expressed optimism that Governor Kathy Hochul and Albany will pass a more stringent law in the upcoming budget, which would facilitate the closure of unlicensed establishments.

According to Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), there will be a significant increase in enforcement and the implementation of measures to close down illegal shops.

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Marijuana Legalization Faced Hurdles

The state law legalizing marijuana was approved in March 2021. However, the implementation has faced numerous challenges, including political and bureaucratic obstacles as well as legal disputes.

In December 2022, the opening of the first cannabis shop marked a significant milestone. However, the industry faced numerous challenges that hindered its growth.

Lawsuits, a backlog of licensing applications, financing difficulties, and the persistent issue of illegal shops all contributed to these setbacks.

Farmers found themselves in a difficult situation, as they were left with a significant amount of marijuana that they were unable to sell.

During the public comment period, numerous speakers voiced their frustration regarding what they perceive as inadequate communication from regulators and a sluggish licensing process.

Several individuals voiced their sense of urgency to resume operations as their financial reserves continue to dwindle and their debt from launching their business continues to grow, Cannabis Wire reported.

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