In March of 2021, New York State legalized the use of recreational marijuana. To date, no cannabis dispensaries have been opened in New York and it is currently illegal to sell recreational marijuana. The state has begun accepting applications for licenses to sell marijuana in August of 2022.
The delay in the rollout of dispensary licenses is due to an effort by the state to prevent large, out of state businesses from buying the licenses. Instead, the state has created a system to keep the cannabis industry – from farmers to retailers – within New York State. Specifically, the intention of the state is to award dispensary licenses to people who were most negatively affected by harsh drug laws and to rebuild the communities that were most harmed by the failed “War on Drugs.”
In order to be successful, business owners must have access to resources like insurance coverage, risk management and loss control. Although marijuana is legal in New York and many other states, it is still illegal and considered a Schedule 1 drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The conflict between state and federal laws has made access to resources like insurance difficult. However, McNeil & Co. and the Cannabis Association of New York Inc. (CANY) partnered with the New York State Insurance Fund for nearly two years to create the CANY Safety Group. This safety group will provide access to workers’ compensation insurance, disability insurance and paid family leave for cannabis businesses.
The CANY Safety Group’s mission is to help NY cannabis businesses of all sizes and backgrounds to achieve prosperity and success. They vow to manage workplace protections for cannabis workers and to advocate for laws and regulations to support the vision of the New York cannabis industry – which is to be restorative, sustainable and inclusive. Experts predict that by 2027, the cannabis industry in NY will generate $4.2 billion and create up to 60,000 jobs.