The Cannabis Control Board’s recent approval of conditional dispensary licenses for 36 marijuana businesses in New York State is a step in the right direction for so many in the THC Industry. Tap Root Fields Founder Josh Allyn says this is one of many positive steps in the right direction for the State but there’s still so much more work to be done.
Currently the state has $200 million for applicants based on region. Those regions include the Bronx, Manhattan and the Finger Lakes. Each region is based on population density and it’s also how the state will determine which dispensaries to fund. Among the list of those considered, include the creation of conditional ones for ‘justice involved’ applicants, also known as New Yorkers who were arrested or convicted of a cannabis related offense in New York State prior to the legalization law that took effect, March 31, 2021.
Park Strategies Managing Director Joe Rossi says that the recent news is certainly a step in the right direction. Rossi, who is also the leader of Park Strategies’ Cannabis Practice Group and the lobbyist for the Cannabis Association of New York, says the industry itself has come a long way since the process began in 2019.
Central New York is going to get seven conditional dispensaries, with the state set to put extra effort on social equity too, Rossi adds.
For much of 2022, there was anticipation over when any news would be happening. The latest draft regulations that are now out for public comment by the state are not only good news, but as Rossi says, gives everyone “something to work with.”
The big question now though; how long will it take for businesses like Tap Root Fields to get into the market. Allyn says that he hopes the new year brings even more progress but, given New York State’s record, he knows it could take time.
And all that time puts so much into question, leaving even more opportunity on the table for legacy growers and operators, and little testing and lab reporting, which Allyn says will be critical for skeptics when it comes to legally selling cannabis in the state.
“Really what we need is to have a safer product for the consumer that goes through testing and lab reports, and you’re not getting that with the underground markets and that’s the worry for everybody,” he says. “The real way to squash that would be to get the program up and running and move faster to get it tested legally.”
Rossi however says the reward will be worth the wait. “What’s going to come out of this is a multi-billion dollar industry hopefully home grown in New York state, providing jobs and so much more when all is said and done.”
The law created nine different THC licenses. Tap Root Fields is eyeballing a few different licensing options including a combination outdoor and greenhouse license.
Allyn adds that the goal is to opt for a plan that gives his team the time and energy they need to produce something that people will love.
“We may seem like we’re large but we’re really small potatoes when it comes to growing,” he says.
“It would be huge for us. It’s really what we’ve built this for. We understand there are going to be other producers but really we’re trying to give people an experience here… almost like a small vineyard like Anyella’s or Beak and Skiff – we want to educate people on why we’re doing this and we really believe that doing a lot of different things is the way to go."
That experience level that we’re going for. Farm to table events to music to education and really connecting people and showing them why this is amazing and have that cool set up.
For Rossi, seeing a farm like Allyn’s have the potential to thrive in the cannabis industry is what the work is all about. He adds that New York State is the only state in the nation to put New York Farmers first.
“This first in the nation approach has been greatly beneficial to the team at Tap Root Fields and the opportunities are really endless. This plant has been around since ancient times and watching it become legal in New York State is monumental.”
Still though, while legalization will level the playing field,Allyn says it comes with many challenges for potential growers.
“If it tests clean then you can put it into the wholesale market and tax it,” Allyn adds. “The problem is that the cost to test is really expensive – we’d love to see the funds that are generated, help smaller growers be able to afford the testing that we need to have them do.”
Regardless though, he adds that with the industry taking shape in New York State comes many great opportunities for the Upstate Cannabis Farm.
“We’re trying to give people an educational experience here and we really believe that doing a lot of different things is the way to go,” Allyn adds.“A lot of farms just want to sell the product, but we’re really excited about the potential along with the research, development, and growing a quality product for people to enjoy.”