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Week in Review: New York Opens Cannabis Licensing Applications

New York unlicensed cannabis
PHOTO Roberto Vivancos

Current Events

Week in Review: New York Opens Cannabis Licensing Applications

ICYMI: Catch up on the week’s latest news from across the cannabis spectrum.

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, New York broadens applicant pool in push to expand legal cannabis market; study reveals legalization doesn’t amplify cannabis use among young at-risk Canadian adults; and Gelato announces collab with hip-hop star Phix. 

 New York opens cannabis licensing
PHOTO Giuseppe da Mota

The Empire State has announced its intention to boost its legal cannabis market by widening the pool of prospective licensees to a broader range of potential applicants.

The Office of Cannabis Management is expected to issue up to 1,000 licenses spanning multiple sectors, including cultivation, retail and processing. Since February 2021, licenses have been exclusively accessible to nonprofits and individuals with previous cannabis convictions as part of the state’s social equity efforts.

The state’s focus on maintaining fairness in the licensing process aims to allocate half of the licenses to applicants under the social and economic equality banner. Eligible candidates for this category include those from disproportionately affected communities, distressed farmers, service-disabled veteran-owned, minority and women-owned businesses.

“We anticipate a vast interest from various stakeholders, including growers and distributors,” Gov. Hochul said in an interview on the day the applications launched. She also confirmed that the application process “will involve a lottery system for selection.”

The governor expressed her dissatisfaction with the state’s hurdles while trying to establish its nascent legal cannabis market. The main setback was in August when a local judge halted the issuance of retail licenses following a lawsuit brought forward by four service-disabled veterans who contended that the state was unduly giving preference to applicants with prior drug offenses.

The governor also reinforced her dedication to combating the illicit market while addressing the persistent issue of illegal cannabis sales. “The task at hand has been challenging, yet I remain committed,” she said. “Our resolve has already led to the seizure of approximately 8,500 pounds of illicit cannabis products, with an estimated value of $42 million.”

The application window will remain open until 5pm on December 4, 2023.

How To Talk to Kids About Cannabis

Study Reveals Legalization Doesn’t Amplify Cannabis Use Among Young At-Risk Canadian Adults

Canada’s move to legalize cannabis hasn’t translated to a noticeable surge in usage or associated adverse effects among its youth, as indicated in a detailed study featured in JAMA Open Network, titled “Cannabis Use Patterns and Its Implications in High-Risk Young Adults Post Legalization.”

Collaborative research undertaken by Canadian and US experts delved into marijuana consumption patterns among at-risk young adults aged 19 to 23. The study’s focal period spanned the years leading up to and following the 2018 decision to legalize adult-use cannabis.

“Regular cannabis users before the legalization phase were observed to tone down their consumption and any related adverse outcomes after legalization,” reports the study. Meanwhile, those who hadn’t used cannabis before its legalization did engage in its limited use afterward. Yet, this didn’t correlate with any adverse outcomes.

“The goal was to ascertain whether the legalization might trigger a spike in usage, especially among the youth,” the study’s authors wrote. “Surprisingly, the data depicted a downward trajectory, aligning with typical substance use patterns expected for this age group, even if no policy change had occurred.” This research mirrors results from the US, suggesting that legalization hasn’t fundamentally disrupted young adults’ consumption habits.

Phix and Gelato Brand Collab
Hip-hop star Phix. PHOTO Gelato Canna Co.

Gelato Canna Co. Announces Collab with Hip-Hop Star Phix 

San Diego-based Gelato Canna Co. has announced its new partnership with Texas hip-hop star Phix in a first for the family-owned cannabis company.

The connection between Phix and Gelato’s founders, George and Cody Sadler, began at the Hall of Flowers After Dark event in May 2023. A mutual appreciation of music and cannabis that brought them together—a genuine resonance of perspectives on the broader cannabis culture sealed the deal.

“I was a huge fan of Gelato before performing for After Dark,” Phix said in a press release. “Being able to not only form a friendship with George and Cody but to collaborate with them to share my music and spread the word about Gelato to my audience is a dream come true.”

Phix, aside from his music, gained online traction with a viral challenge featuring Dax Shepard, amassing a considerable following on platforms like TikTok and Spotify.

“I think Phix is the perfect spokesperson for our brand,” said George Sadler. “He’s a true fan of what we do and what we stand for as a brand. This partnership is only the beginning of what we have planned. Having Phix as part of the Gelato family showcases our commitment to the brand’s ethos of fun, welcoming, attainable cannabis products for all.”

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