December 20, 2023


State Settlement Clears Path for a Surge of Newly Licensed Legal Dispensaries in NYC

Decision Comes as Cannabis NYC Commences First-Ever Cannabis Entrepreneurs Bootcamp

NEW YORK – Today, NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim and Cannabis NYC Founding Director Dasheeda Dawson celebrated the opening of three new legal cannabis dispensaries, including the first in Brooklyn, following the settlement of an injunction preventing new licensed dispensaries from opening in many parts of the city. The three openings mark an important milestone for the city's licensed industry.

"With the injunction behind us, we can finally move full speed ahead in our mission to build this country's most equitable legal cannabis industry," said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. "I want to thank Commissioner Kevin D. Kim, Cannabis NYC Founding Director Dasheeda Dawson, and OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander for their tireless work in laying the foundation for success for the legal industry, which we are starting to see bear fruit with the recent retail dispensary openings in the city. As the application window closes for an expanded set of license types, we look forward to carrying the momentum into the new year with more services and support for cannabis entrepreneurs and businesses."

"The state's settlement ending the injunction is an important milestone in our mission to create a cannabis industry grounded in principles of equity and justice," said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. "But make no mistake: while this lawsuit played out, SBS and Cannabis NYC were hard at work building the foundation to make New York the global leader of the legal cannabis industry. Whether it's through resources like our innovative FastTrac® program, the Lift Off! listening tour, or one of our seven NYC Business Solutions Centers, we're meeting the moment and laying the path to the City of Yes for cannabis entrepreneurs."

"From day one, the mission of Cannabis NYC has been grounded in equity, justice, and education," said Cannabis NYC Founding Director Dasheeda Dawson. "With the injunction behind us and hundreds of cannabis entrepreneurs ready to open their businesses, we stand ready to ensure that each and every one of them is set up for success. I'm looking forward to 2024 as the legal cannabis industry in NYC continues to lift off, and I'm excited to continue our work educating and empowering entrepreneurs, investors, consumers, employees, and community members alike."

The four-month long injunction impeded the rollout of the state's Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensing program, impacting more than 200 New York City based CAURD-approved business owners. The settlement paves the way for the state to resume its goal of establishing the country's first cannabis industry centered on equity. The CAURD program prioritized licensing for entrepreneurs who have been adversely affected by decades of cannabis prohibition and provided first access to New York's rapidly expanding legal market.

Despite these legal challenges, SBS and Cannabis NYC has continued to actively support the industry's development. Working with SBS's NYC Business Solutions Centers and the Cannabis NYC 5-Borough Coalition — comprised of community advocates, business owners, and cannabis entrepreneurs — Cannabis NYC provided over 500 individuals 1-on-1 assistance in applying for licenses to start legal cannabis businesses. Since its launch last year, Cannabis NYC:

  • Launched the first-ever series of FastTrac® for Cannabis Entrepreneurs sessions which connects cannabis business owners and entrepreneurs with free, high-quality training and advice proctored by leading players in the legal cannabis industry. More than 200 New Yorkers will participate in nine cohorts of entrepreneurial bootcamp over the course of the next year.
  • Reached over 5,000 New Yorkers through 15 stops on its five borough Lift Off! Cannabis NYC public education, listening, and outreach tour, with over 25 hours of community training on topics related to legal cannabis.
  • Engaged more than 1,000 unique attendees at Cannabis NYC virtual regulatory and policy workshops, including entrepreneurs, community members, and cannabis industry experts.
  • Facilitated Cannabis Growers Showcases across New York City, leading to the first-ever legal cannabis sales in both Brooklyn and Staten Island.

With the injunction lifted, legal dispensaries will be able to open as the city continues its crack down on the proliferation of illegal smoke shops. The decision follows Mayor Adams's announcement of additional measures the administration is taking to protect public health and the legal market, targeting landlords and management companies that house unlicensed establishments.

"The Sheriff Joint Compliance Task Force will continue to conduct inspections of unlicensed smoke shops to protect our communities from unregulated products and support the growing legal cannabis market in New York City," said NYC Sheriff Anthony Miranda. "Since the start of the Task Force to November 30, 2023, 1,410 total inspections have been conducted which has resulted in over $45 million in Civil Penalties and nearly $25 million in illicit products seized."

"I'm excited about the recent development in the cannabis landscape, with the resolution of the state injunction opening the door for three new legal cannabis dispensaries in New York City. This marks a crucial step in the journey of licensed cannabis entrepreneurs, especially those approved under the Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensing program," said NYC Council Member Kevin C. Riley. "This positive development aligns with the commitment of NYC Department of Small Business Services and Cannabis NYC to create an equitable cannabis industry, particularly benefiting communities of color impacted by historical cannabis prohibition. As we welcome these new businesses, it signifies progress toward building a robust and inclusive cannabis market in our city, with an eye on fairness and opportunity for all New Yorkers. Thank you to SBS and Cannabis NYC for their dedication to fostering equality and providing a platform for legal dispensaries to thrive, making a positive impact on our communities. I look forward to continued partnership with SBS, Cannabis NYC, OCM, and my colleagues in government to champion NYC as a global leader in the cannabis industry rooted in equity for the greater success of our city."

"This week marked the opening of the first legal dispensary in Brooklyn, and that's certainly a cause for celebration," said Chris Alexander, Executive Director, New York State's Office of Cannabis Management. "New York State is building something special when it comes to cannabis; we're building an industry that gives a real chance to those harmed by overpolicing during prohibition, a real chance for mom-and-pop operators to thrive, and a real competitive market that will benefit customers across the State. I deeply appreciate Cannabis NYC's Director, Dasheeda Dawson, for her partnership in rolling out this market in NYC. The momentum is here, and I want to acknowledge the City of New York's collaboration as we continue to break ground around equity in cannabis."

Following the close of CAURD applications on Monday, December 18, SBS and Cannabis NYC will continue to provide technical assistance for those awaiting OCM approval. The five types of legal cannabis licenses are:

  • Cultivator;
  • Processor;
  • Distributor;
  • Microbusiness; and
  • Retail dispensary

Those interested in learning more about legal cannabis are encouraged to make an appointment with one of SBS's seven NYC Business Solutions Centers, call its hotline at (888) SBS-4NYC, and follow SBS on social media for updates.

About Cannabis NYC (CNYC)
The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) launched Cannabis NYC to make our city the global leader for cannabis industry excellence in education and equity across business, science, and culture, and is reaching this goal by actively creating an interagency hub of free resources and services for all New Yorkers interested in the cannabis industry.

Through strategic outreach, public engagement, business services, and advocacy efforts, Cannabis NYC will support the creation of good jobs, successful small businesses, and sustainable economic opportunity to address historic harms of past cannabis prohibition.

To stay connected, visit and sign up for updates here.

About the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, go to, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.