Queens borough president praises approval of cannabis dispensary licenses

Cannabis plant
New York legalizes adult-use recreational marijuana. (Photo via Getty Images)

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards on Nov. 22 released a statement praising the New York State Cannabis Control Board issuing 36 Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary licenses. Conditional licenses were granted to six organizations and individuals across Queens thus far, with Richards looking forward to the positive impacts they may have on the community.

“Societal shifts don’t come quickly or easily, but this week’s milestone approval of six conditional cannabis dispensary licenses for Queens organizations is nothing short of transformational,” Richards said. “What was once a tool used to target communities of color is now a crucial and legal piece of our economic puzzle that will create jobs, create wealth and create opportunity in those same communities. Congratulations to all six Queens licensees for making history. My office, along with members of our Cannabis Task Force, looks forward to working with each entity to ensure this emerging sector of our borough’s economy is one rooted in equity and empowerment.”

The New York State Cannabis Control Board approved its first group of dispensary licenses on Nov. 21. This marked the state’s latest step towards legalizing recreational marijuana and making it easily accessible to potential adult consumers. Before Monday’s license approvals, there weren’t any state-sanctioned dispensaries approved for recreational business in the state. However there were still illegitimate pop-up marijuana shops around New York City.

“Not long ago, the idea of New York legalizing cannabis seemed unbelievable,” Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said on Nov. 21. “Now, not only are we legal, not only have we legalized, but we’re also building a legal adult-use market with an equity-driven approach.”

Prior to this, the only people eligible for CUARD licenses were those who had or with family members with prior cannabis-related offenses and a record of a successful business or nonprofit.

New York became the 16th state in the United States to legalize recreational marijuana, doing so in 2021. Among the first businesses and individuals in New York City to receive the licenses were Nube NYC LLC, Carl M Anderson III, Royal Leaf NY, Gabbys Green LLC, CGG Enterprises Inc., Suzanne M Furboter, Anthony Crapanzano, Smacked LLC, Gabriel Marin, Planet 51 LLC, Florisun LLC, Eastern Holdings and SAMJNY Holdings LLC.