Minority cannabis business owners to get leg up for May 20 N.Y. industry event

Updated May 10, 2021; Posted May 10, 2021


EDITOR’S NOTE: On May 20, NJ Cannabis Insider in collaboration with Advance Media New York hosts a virtual business networking event, featuring some of New York state’s most prominent industry leaders. Tickets are limited.

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.

Barriers to entry are going to play a big role for social equity applicants, said Harvest 360 co-founder David Serrano, who owns and operates a cannabis-friendly farm in Shawangunk, New York.

“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.

For its upcoming May 20 half-day industry event, NY Cannabis Insider Live has partnered with Harvest360 to support 50 qualified equity applicants to provide free tickets to this special event and individual consultations to help their chances of succeeding in the space. (To apply to the program, fill out this form.)

The event, presented by Hance Construction, will feature New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, cannabis czar for the City of Portland, Oregon and founding chair of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition Dasheeda DawsonNgiste Abebe, president of the New York Medical Cannabis Industry AssociationAllan Gandelman, founder and president of the New York State Cannabis Growers and Processors Association, and more.

As New York sets up its legal market, it’s poised to potentially become one of the largest on the East Coast alongside its Garden State neighbor, 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. 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,” he said. “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 said.

To apply for the fellowship program and free tickets click here. The deadline to apply is by Saturday, May 15, at midnight. Winners will be announced on Monday.

The half-day conference is hosted by Advance Media New York, the company that publishes The Post-Standard, syracuse.com and NYUP.com, in collaboration with NJ Cannabis Insider, a weekly online trade journal and events group covering New Jersey and the Northeast region.

Click here for more details to purchase tickets.