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New York regulators are expanding medical cannabis retail licenses for large multistate operators for the first time since the state launched MMJ sales in January 2016.

The application window for “registered organizations” opened Oct. 31 and will run until 5 p.m. Dec. 19, according to a notice from state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).

Registered organizations, New York’s version of MSOs, will pay a premium to enter perhaps the nation’s most untapped retail marketplace, which currently has only 26 operational licensed adult-use retailers in the entire state, nearly one year after launching adult-use sales.

Applicants must submit:

  • A nonrefundable application fee of $10,000 before the application deadline.
  • A registration fee of $200,000 within 10 business days of approval.
  • In lieu of a lease or secured property, a secured bond of $2 million.

It appears the OCM has not placed a cap on potential licenses. Instead, the agency is linking approvals to “… the quality of applications received and market needs.”

The developments will certainly rankle licensed adult-use retailers as well as hundreds of Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensees and applicants who have been trying to open stores for months.

In September, the OCM voted to allow the state’s 10 medical marijuana operators to apply for adult-use retail licenses, essentially reversing its policy to ban MSOs entering the recreational market for the first three years.