New York State Announces 212 Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary Licenses Image: Kim MacKinnon/Unsplash
July 25, 2023

New York State officials have recently made a significant announcement regarding the issuance of 212 Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses. This news comes from the state Cannabis Control Board (CCB), which has already issued a total of 463 CAURD licenses. Out of these, 21 dispensaries are now open for business, with the latest one commencing operations on July 21. However, most licenses are still provisional, awaiting fulfillment of additional requirements approved by CCB.

The Slow Rollout of New York’s Adult Use Program

Since the legalization of cannabis for adult use in 2021, the rollout of retail dispensaries in New York has been notably slow. This slow progression has created an imbalanced market and uncertainty for licensees, prospective licensees, and other stakeholders. While hemp growers in the state were allowed to obtain licenses for cultivating high-THC cannabis for the adult use market starting in Spring 2022, only around 300 conditional cultivator licenses have been issued thus far. In 2022, some growers produced over 200,000 pounds of product during the outdoor growing season, but due to limited retailers, many are still struggling to sell their 2022 crops.

Challenges Faced by Licensed Cultivators

The limited number of retailers and shelf space has made it challenging for licensed cultivators to sell their products. They are now faced with tough decisions about how much to plant in 2023, considering the uncertainty of market demand. The slow pace of dispensary openings, despite the recent issuance of nearly 500 CAURD licenses, means that it may take several more months or even a year for a significant portion of dispensaries to become operational.

Positive Developments and Future Prospects

Despite the challenges, there are positive signs for the industry. One licensed grower in New York has already begun harvesting autoflower varieties from the 2023 crop this month, adding to the fresh supply from the previous year’s harvest.

Cannabis Growers’ Showcase Initiative

In addition to the CAURD licenses, the state has also introduced the Cannabis Growers’ Showcase (CGS) initiative, which resembles a “farmers’ market” concept, allowing producers to sell directly to consumers. However, specific rules for the CGS initiative have not yet been established, and applications for such events are not available at this time. The implementation of this novel market pathway remains uncertain but could potentially have a significant impact on the industry if successfully established.


The recent issuance of 212 CAURD licenses in New York State represents a step forward in the development of the adult use cannabis market. However, challenges persist due to the slow rollout of retail dispensaries, causing uncertainty for cultivators and other stakeholders. While there are positive developments in certain areas, the industry’s overall progress will largely depend on the expeditious implementation of initiatives like the Cannabis Growers’ Showcase.