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Hopeful Equity Applicants for Cannabis Business to Get Leg Up for New York Industry Event



On May 20, NJ Cannabis Insider in collaboration with Advance Media New York will host a virtual business networking event, featuring some of New York state’s more prominent industry leaders.

Tickets are limited.

However, social equity, a factor that has become a centerpiece for conversations surrounding access to the cannabis space, will remain a complex challenge as a new industry tries to ingratiate the concept into its daily operations. 

According to David Serrano, owner and operator of a cannabis-friendly farm in Shawangunk, New York called Harvest 360, barriers to entry are going to play a big role for social equity applicants. 

“Applicants are going to need support from their municipality, and unfortunately, folks with the most money have historically been given more attention and consideration,” he said.

Harvest 360 partnered with NY Cannabis Insider Live to support 50 qualified entry applicants to provide free tickets to this special event and individual consultations to help their chances to succeed in the space.

Presented by Hance Construction, the event will feature New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal People-Stokes, cannabis czar for the City of Portland, Oregon and founding chair of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition Dasheeda Dawson, New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association President Ngiste Abebe, Founder and President of the New York State Cannabis Growers and Processors Association Allan Gandelman and more. 

As New York sets up its legal cannabis market, it is poised to potentially become one of the largest on the east coast alongside New Jersey, which is home to some of the most densely packed municipalities in America. 

Density also comes with competitive real-estate demands, something that has been cited as a barrier to entry in an industry where license holders, including ones in New Jersey, have often been required to hold onto millions in property before being approved to pursue a license—a requirement that can lead to big corporations dominating the market. 

Serrano hopes New York does something to address the dynamic.

“If the state requires real-estate control before licensing, this will create a major barrier,” he said. “We are hoping New York takes a page from Illinois on this one, and urges the state to simply not include real estate as a requirement for the micro applications. Another major barrier for applicants is required proof of funds. This is another area where the state can support, by simply not including proof of funds as a pre-licensing requirement.

“Giving license holders one year to secure cash and real estate after a viable plan is presented could level the playing field for social equity applicants,” Serrano continued. “This will give social equity license holders a position of power and minimize state-sponsored exploitation of social equity applicants by landlords and financiers. For now, we have to wait and see. I urge everyone to engage in the open commenting period when the commission is formed and ask for these considerations. If we don’t activate and ask, they won’t give.”