For clues to what New York dispensaries will look like, Empire State consumers should look to Montreal.
Many New Yorkers are waiting with bated breath to legally purchase adult-use cannabis once the NYS Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) gives the go-ahead. I’ve seen it a few times, in Colorado and Massachusetts: the anticipation, comradery, exhaustion and simultaneous annoyance of higher prices due to taxation and waiting on line the first day of legal cannabis sales.
But do consumers know what those first 200 retail dispensaries across New York will actually look like? Well, look to our northern trés chic neighbor, Montreal, and their government-operated stores.
Following the April 9 New York state (NYS) Budget Bill, which provided $50 million in public funds and statutory powers to the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), NYS published a Request for Proposal, ending June 13, for prevailing contractors to provide fully furnished, “turn-key” dispensaries, fully equipped with POS systems, security, safes, cameras, bathrooms, offices, etc. For those envisioning funky, innovative and unique stores, DASNY will likely render these first 200 dispensaries fairly uniform inside and out, with the exception of a so-called “branding wall” for the license holders to get creative with.
DASNY’s May 13 Design-Build Services for Select Retail Cannabis Dispensaries Request for Proposal RFP #7586 offers a sneak peek at the first 200 NYS adult-use retail dispensaries.
According to the RFP (request for proposal), DASNY will act as agent for New York’s Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, LP (NYSECIF) to identify suitable commercial retail properties for dispensaries, and design and outfit these leased premises based on forthcoming retail dispensary security regulations. NYSECIF will then sublease these properties to prevailing retail license applicants to operate. Prevailing proposers should be selected by July 11 to start the design and construction of cannabis dispensaries throughout New York state.
These dispensaries will be “equitably dispersed across” 10 geographic regions throughout New York state, according to NYSECIF, with New York City being Region #1. DASNY “anticipate[s] that approximately 150 dispensaries will need to be completed across the State," with the heaviest concentration in the NYC metropolitan area, including Long Island and Westchester. Rough approximations in other parts of the State include 20 to 25 in Western New York, 15-20 in the Hudson Valley/Capital District region, 5 to 10 in the North Country, and 5 to 10 in the Southern Tier region of the State.”
Interestingly, DASNY’s RFP envisions dispensaries ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet in size being built by various regional contractors, who will also handle all the filing, permitting, licensing, and regulatory approval responsibilities. (It’s hard to imagine DASNY securing 3,000 sq. ft. retail spaces in prime commercial corridors in NYC!). Contractors will design and install security systems and cameras compliant with the forthcoming security regulations, as well as “furnishing and equipping” the dispensaries.
This RFP offers those thinking of applying for second-round/private-property retail licenses the general requirements for these state-built stores. For the sales area, the reception area may be enclosed or open, and the check-in area may be separate or combined with the reception area, both depending on location. Dispensaries may also have an open sales floor and display area, including a prominent “branding wall,” with sales counter and service space allowing for “approximately 5-10 point of sale areas and/or kiosks.”
This RFP also prescribes the prevailing contractor to construct a “back of house” area for staff to “move, process, package and fulfill customer product and merchandise orders,” as well as a receiving area and a “Cannabis Processing Workroom.” Other requirements include a vault and/or secure storeroom; a “Quarantine/Secure” waste storeroom; office space and a staff breakroom; employee and customer handicap-accessible bathrooms; a janitor’s closet; and an electrical/data/security closet. The RFP asks for a floorplan and layout to “allow for the best disbursement and flow of clients / visitors while feeling inviting and personal.”
Dispensaries will require interior and exterior video surveillance, access controls, and intrusion systems, with security plans complying with NYS Department of Health security requirements. These include alarms and backup alarms; motion detectors; video cameras with 24-hour recording (9600dpi) and date/time stamp; panic button at sales counter; glass break sensors; automatic voice dialer or digital dialer; failure notification system; “ability to remain operational during a power outage”; maintenance of all security equipment and recordings in a restricted secure location; illuminated exterior; doors with pinless hinges; and secure network access.
The Cannabis Storage (Vault) must have walls and ceiling framed with heavy-gage metal studs and joists with 9-gage expanded metal mesh installed on the non-secure side of framing with tamper proof fasteners.
Exterior windows shall meet all requirements of the current NYS/NYC Energy Conservation Construction Codes and include laminated glazing treated with security film to prevent the glazing from falling out, if broken.
Additional enhanced security measures may be required in certain localities, such as NYC, where privacy screening, roll-down security gates, and use of ballistic glass may be required.
Odor Mitigation systems, with ventilation and filtration systems to mitigate the cannabis odor, may be required in certain localities.
HVAC and Backup Power systems (battery or generator) will be required during a power outage to provide continuous power for access control for secure doors, 24/7 remote alarm, camera surveillance and recording systems, and preferably HVAC conditioning for IT/Data Room and Vault and POS stations as well.
DASNY will have NYSECIF’s contractors build out the interior, from flooring to the “Branding Wall,” according to the RFP, along with ATMs, furnishings, fixtures and equipment, and Point of Sale (POS) systems, for the first 200 license holders. The store will be fully connected as well, either through WiFi or LAN wiring, to POS, seed-to-sale tracking system and security systems. Essentially, DASNY will hook up the entire dispensary.
New York has radically redefined social justice in launching these new adult-use retail dispensaries. As any operator knows, launching a successful retail cannabis business requires a tremendous amount of research, time, knowledge, relationships and understanding of contracts, commercial leases, and most importantly, start-up capital. By eliminating the knowledge gap, securing the commercial property, and fronting the equipment needed, New York doubled down on its commitment to ensuring those with prior cannabis convictions (or their immediate family member) have a fair and equal chance to succeed. (The first 200 Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses will be awarded to applicants who were convicted of a NYS cannabis conviction, or had an immediate family member convicted, and meet other applicant requirements.)
This radical commitment to economic equity and fairness will certainly court many naysayers and detractors, but at its core, those left financially and personally devastated by cannabis convictions may finally have a fair shot at rebuilding their lives.
Wei Hu, Esq., is the founding partner of MRTA Law, PC, a boutique NYS cannabis law practice with offices in Manhattan and Ulster County. He also teaches Social and Economic Equity in Cannabis at LIM College in New York City, and is a member of the NYS Cannabis Industry Association.
Expansion to island nation brings innovative and popular rapid-onset products to medical patients through partnership with BioCann Caribbean
GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico (June 16, 2022) –PRESS RELEASE-- Wana Brands has expanded its international presence to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, launching with Wana Quick Fast-Acting Gummies, the company’s innovative and popular fast-onset infused cannabis edible line featuring “happy hour”-inspired flavors.
Providing a novel edible experience with an onset time of 5-15 mins and Delta-9-THC effects (similar to an inhalation effect) lasting up to three hours, the new Wana product line features an all-natural recipe, with no high fructose corn syrup. Each gummie offers 10mg of THC, with 10 gummies per package. Traditional edibles have an onset time of up to two hours, with effects lasting up to six hours.
“Launching a cannabis edible in a new market serves up a host of challenges, including identifying the right manufacturing and distribution partners,” said Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands. “Fortunately, we are partnering with BioCann Caribbean, which has a very strong team dedicated to quality and consistency, making them an ideal partner. The BioCann team possesses a keen attention to detail that can be seen in all aspects of their operation, which ensures that patients of Puerto Rico will enjoy the high-quality products Wana fans expect.”
In a multicultural nation where English and Spanish languages are both official languages of the country, it is critical that any brand entering the market offers respect and inclusivity. For a cannabis brand, that means not only ensuring that customer-facing materials are offered in both languages but that retailer and manufacturer training information and materials are also available in both languages, according to Whiteman. Recognized across the industry for its comprehensive printed and video training materials, Wana Brands completely revised its video training tools and marketing material specifically for Spanish-speaking audiences in the island nation.
“Both BioCann and Wana Brands share a passion for making clean, high-quality products available to patients,” said Nicolas Moreda Algeria, Senior Project Manager of BioCann Caribbean. “We are grateful to have a partner whose commitment to quality is as strong as our own, and we can see Wana’s commitment in their approach to training and working with partners. We are looking forward to a long relationship together to serve the communities in Puerto Rico.”
The first fast-onset gummie available in the country, the following Wana Quick Fast-Acting Gummies are now available in Puerto Rico, including:
Fast, effective and innovative, Wana Quick Fast-Acting Gummies harness TiME (Thermodynamic Individual Molecular Encapsulation), a new quick onset technology from Azuca. While traditional edibles convert Delta-9-THC in the digestive tract to 11-Hydroxy-THC, Wana Quick gummies feature individually encapsulated Delta-9-THC cannabinoids with greater bioavailability that work at the molecular level to bypass the liver and enter the bloodstream immediately. This means onset in less than 15 mins for most, and a Delta-9-THC experience that lasts two to four hours.
The U.S. basketball star has been in Russian custody since February, when officials accused her of drug smuggling.
WNBA player Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia on drug smuggling accusations has been extended again, this time through at least July 2, according to a CNN report.
Griner, a center for the Phoenix Mercury, has played in Russia for the last seven off seasons. She was taken into custody in February for allegedly carrying cannabis vape cartridges in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo airport, near Moscow.
RELATED: Top US Basketball Player Detained in Russia for Cannabis
Griner’s alleged offense could carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
In March, TASS, a Russian state-owned news agency, reported that Griner’s pretrial detention would be extended until May.
Last month, TASS reported that she would remain in custody until June 18, according to CNN.
RELATED: WNBA Star Brittney Griner ‘Doing as Well as Can Be Expected’ in Russia Detention
A U.S. State Department official told the news outlet last month that Griner has been officially classified as “wrongfully detained,” and supporters, including her family and the WNBA, have been advocating for her release.
“Our position for some time on this has been very clear: Brittney Griner should not be detained,” Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, told CNN. “She should not be detained for a single day longer.”
Price added that the U.S. last had consular access to Griner last month.
The office of the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs is handling Griner’s case, CNN reported; the office leads the government’s diplomatic efforts to release Americans who are wrongfully detained abroad.
“Her detention is inhumane and unacceptable,” Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, told CNN. “She has not had a single phone call in her 117 days of wrongful detention.”
Kagawa Colas called on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to “act with urgency and do whatever it takes to bring Brittney home immediately,” the news outlet reported.
Winnebago County Circuit Judge Stephen Balogh ruled that the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed earlier this month to challenge the licensing process must file the suit under administrative review law.
After Illinois’ craft grow cannabis licensees’ operations were placed on another hold in the wake of litigation brought by unsuccessful applicants, a judge has lifted a temporary restraining order and allowed the licensees to proceed with their business plans.
Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Balogh issued the order June 6 to block all craft grower licensees from operating until a settlement was reached in a new lawsuit, which was filed June 3 by Sustainable Innovations Inc. and 11 other unsuccessful craft grow license applicants.
The lawsuit challenged the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s (IDOA) licensing process, which the plaintiffs alleged violated the state law that authorized the craft grow licenses in the first place.
The IDOA issued the first round of craft grow licenses last year, and state law required the department to award the second round of licenses by Dec. 21, 2021.
Unsuccessful applicants then filed litigation to challenge the licensing process, and subsequent court orders mandated that the additional licenses could not be awarded until the lawsuits were resolved.
RELATED: No End in Sight? Illinois Craft Grow Applicants Wait in Limbo as Litigation Drags On
A judge lifted the injunction in March, allowing the IDOA to move forward with issuing the second round of licenses, which were awarded June 1.
The licenses were then put on hold again last week in the wake of the new lawsuit and Balogh’s temporary restraining order.
Balogh ultimately ruled June 15 that the plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit must file the suit under administrative review law, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The ruling now allows the 88 craft grow licensees to get their operations up and running, the news outlet reported.
Lawyers from the Illinois Attorney General’s office argued that the delay in licensing would have unfairly harmed the applicants, according to the Chicago Tribune, while attorneys for the plaintiffs have announced plans to file an amended complaint.
Grand opening festivities will run all day and include numerous partner giveaways, music, food trucks, deals and specials, and all registered medical cannabis patients will receive a 25% discount.
TALLAHASSEE, Florida, June 16, 2022 - PRESS RELEASE - Trulieve Cannabis Corp., a leading and top-performing cannabis company in the United States, announced the opening of a new medical dispensary in New Port Richey, Fla., located at 5422 US Hwy 19.
The dispensary opened at 9 a.m. Thursday, June 16, 2022. Grand opening festivities will run all day and include numerous partner giveaways, music, food trucks, deals and specials, and all registered medical cannabis patients will receive a 25% discount. Trulieve also offers statewide home delivery, convenient online ordering, and in-store pickup. As always, all first-time guests are eligible for a 50% new customer discount at any Florida-based location.
"Trulieve is proud to expand access to medical marijuana for Florida's patient population," said Trulieve's Chief Executive Officer Kim Rivers. "Trulieve is committed to investing in communities where we operate, as well as offering patients access to high-quality products and providing exceptional customer experiences."
Trulieve's retail employees are trained to provide personalized patient care and support individuals at every stage of their cannabis journeys. Trulieve dispensaries throughout Florida offer on-site consultations to help patients obtain appropriate medical products and dosages to ensure optimal cannabis experiences.
Trulieve patients across Florida can choose from the largest selection of THC and CBD products available in a variety of consumption methods, including smokable flower, concentrates, edibles, capsules, syringes, tinctures, topical creams, vaporizers and more.
Designed to meet every patient's needs, Trulieve's portfolio of in-house brands includes Alchemy, Co2lors, Cultivar Collection, Momenta, Muse, Roll One, Sweet Talk and Modern Flower. Patients also have access to beloved brands such as Bellamy Brothers, Bhang, Binske, Blue River, Black Tuna, DeLisioso, Love's Oven, O.pen and Sunshine Cannabis, all available exclusively at Trulieve in Florida.
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