New York’s Marijuana Regulation

This post focuses on New York’s Cannabis Equity Plan and provisions in New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act ( MRTA) developed to promote economic and Social Equity for Applicants. Just like our current NY cannabis posts, we’ve consisted of the pertinent MRTA area ( § )to help you find the particular statutory language that I’m referencing (usage to discover it quicker).


The function of New York’s Equity Plan is:

To actively promote candidates from communities disproportionately affected by cannabis restriction, and promote racial, ethnic, and gender diversity when issuing licenses for adult-use cannabis-related activities, including mentoring potential applicants, by prioritizing consideration of applications by applicants who are from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition or who qualify as a minority or women-owned business, distressed farmers, or service-disabled veterans. 

Specifying Equity Applicant

So, who certifies as a Social Equity NY Applicant? New York City’s Cannabis Control Board will determine the specific requirements for Equity Applicants, but we can expect it will track MRTA’s statutory purpose and meanings. MRTA specifies each of the strong terms above. :

Communities disproportionately impacted means: a history of arrests, convictions, and other police practices in a particular geographical area, however not limited to precincts, zip codes, neighborhoods, and political subdivisions, reflecting disparate enforcement of cannabis restriction during a specific period, when compared to the rest of the state.

A women-owned or minority-owned company is at least 51% owned by one or more minority group members or women, in which such ownership is “genuine, significant and continuing” and works out “the authority to independently control the daily business choices” of business. 

” Extra priority” is to be offered to an Equity Applicant who: 

(1) belongs to a community disproportionately affected by the enforcement of cannabis restriction

(2) has an income lower than eighty percent of the average earnings of the county in which the applicant resides, and

(3) was convicted, or had a family member who was convicted, of a marijuana-related offense.

Equity Plan

The Equity Plan has several different features. MRTA directs the CCB to:

  • Prioritize equity applicants to grant 50% of adult-use cannabis licenses to Equity Applicants.
  • award licenses in a manner that thinks about small business chances, avoids market dominance, and “reflects the demographics of the state”.
  • Establish requirements for granting microbusiness, nursery, and delivery licenses that promote Equity Applicants.
  • waive or reduce costs for Equity Applicants.
  • Helping in making low-interest or zero-interest loans to certified Equity Applicants.
  • make recommendations concerning the tax of adult-use cannabis to promote and motivate Equity Applicants.

produce an “incubator program” to motivate Equity Applicants to make an application for adult-use cannabis licenses and to support Equity Applicants through counseling services, education, small business coaching, financial preparation, and compliance assistance.

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