Social justice critics say cannabis has become a bad ride in New York

Social justice critics say the launch of New York’s legal cannabis industry is turning out to be a rough ride — even before the first official marijuana dispensaries open for business.

A group advocating for the first licensed sellers of what used to be weed shops said Friday they have failed.

The Cannabis Social Equity Coalition He said the first sellers would be required to buy cannabis products of “questionable quality and safety” from New York hemp farmers, who are not adequately trained for the market and would face a mountain of debt.

New York’s cannabis “sale from seed” law requires that the product sold by licensed dispensaries must come from marijuana plants grown by local farmers.

But the group says the “biomass” strain of cannabis grown by farmers is not a smokeable flower.

“This type of cannabis is low grade, best suited for processing oils, vapes, topical preparations and cannabis edibles. It is not suitable as smokeable flower for sale in dispensaries,” said Reginald Fluellen of the Cannabis Social Equity Coalition.

He also said that cannabis grown by hemp farmers contains “high amounts of bacteria, yeast and mold.”

Damian Fagon of the Cannabis Control Division said the first adult dispensaries in New York sell products that have been tested for many potentially harmful elements.
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The state’s Cannabis Regulatory Authority has challenged a claim that it allowed the cultivation and sale of the noxious weed.

“Let’s stick to the facts, and they’re clear: New York’s first adult-use dispensaries sell products grown by New York family farmers that are tested for many potentially harmful elements, including heavy metals, e-coli passed , aspergillus and other contaminants, in line with practices in other states, said Damian Fagon, OCM’s Chief Capital Officer.

Meanwhile, the Cannabis Social Equity Coalition says dispensary owners aren’t given the adequate training and incubation support needed to run a highly regulated cannabis business, and they face “high debt and high debt repayments on day one.” interest rates”.

Damian Fagon, New York State's director of cannabis management, talks to reporters next to marijuana plants for the adult recreational market hanging in a drying room on a farm in Suffolk County, New York on October 4, 2022.
The state’s Cannabis Regulatory Authority is denying a claim that it allowed the sale of bad weed.

OCM disputed the claims as buzz kill.

“These dispensary owners break down barriers to capital in a complex industry, get support from a social equity cannabis investment fund; and they build a legal market with supply sales by raising their own capital before opening shop. can eat,” said OCM’s Fagon.

He said the first dispensary owners already had a history of running other successful businesses and “jumping to conclusions about the products they sell and their ability to be successful will only hurt them and the fairest market in our cannabis market.” our efforts to create a nation.”

He also appeared on the Cannabis Social Equity Coalition as MIA during the public comment process on cannabis regulations.

“We await their input on the rules for most of the rest of the market that were developed by the Cannabis Control Board last month because we have not received comments from them on the rules for this dispensary program,” Fagon said.

Cannabis flower in a jar
According to New York’s “seed sale” law, the product must come from marijuana plants grown by local farmers.

Still, there’s no doubt that the nascent cannabis program faces challenges.

A day after the latest criticism surfaced, former NBA star Chris Webber was tapped by the state to help raise $200 million in a public-private partnership for the burgeoning legal weed industry, but failed to raise the cash.

Two days ago, a study found that New York City currently has “perhaps tens of thousands of illegal cannabis businesses” operating in bodegas, smokehouses and other shops — many of which are poorly or dangerously contaminated in pop-up shops. weed is sold. .

Most of these black market weed sellers pay little or no tax, and last month 36 state licensed retail operators would have to pay a cannabis tax.

This makes it difficult for legal operators to compete on price with the illegal vendors that have sprung up all over the city, including in tidy, middle-class neighborhoods like Kew Gardens.


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