Retail Cannabis in New York: Where the Goliaths Support the Davids

Good morning. Today is Friday. We’ll be getting updates on a new industry in New York – cannabis retail. And, in the heat of late August, we’ll find out why subway stations aren’t air-conditioned.

New York State began accepting applications for a retail marijuana license on Thursday. The state is prioritizing those in communities that have been marginally affected by past drug wars. But the big medical marijuana companies also want to get into the state’s new retail industry. I asked my colleague Grace Ashford to explain.

At issue is a fee that medical marijuana companies will have to pay to sell cannabis outside of the medical plan. How much could that fee be?

This is the million dollar question – literally.

There are no numbers listed in the law, so the final decision will rest with the governing bodies. A number of different fee structures and numbers were discussed, ranging from around $3 million per operator all the way up to $20 million per operator.

Of course, the medical marijuana industry has its own ideas, including making the licensing fee a reflection of the value it will bring to the licensee, which will depend on the final scale. and the success of the new legal market. Instead of one big lump sum, the industry has come up with a structure where fees will be paid over time.

Industry leaders have also proposed tying a portion of the fee to their own revenue, which they say would put the industry and regulators on the same page, supporting the medical marijuana program. economic. That reflects their view that New York needs to make itself attractive to the industry if it wants to build a thriving legal market – and curb an increasingly illegal market. .

Regulators have a different view. They not only want to build a profitable market but also a fair market, and they say that charging the largest possible fee will help them do that.

What will the fee money be used for?

This is one of the more unusual aspects of New York’s marijuana law. Funds from the 10 major medical marijuana licensors will be used to support their new, smaller retail competitors. In interviews along the way, I joked that it sounded like a Robin Hood script, but unanimously.

The intent behind this is the foundation of New York’s marijuana law, which aims to use legalization to correct some of the wrongdoing caused by years of disproportionate enforcement of drug laws. Specifically, the law promises to grant 50% of cannabis licenses for what it calls “economic and social justice“Candidates – women, minorities, distressed farmers, veterans with disabilities and those from communities affected by the war on drugs.

If medical executives are the Goliaths in the industry, who are Davids? And why is Thursday an important day for them?

Thursday is a hugely exciting day: New Yorkers who have been waiting to get in on the action can finally start applying for their first retail license.

However, these early licenses won’t be just for anyone. They won’t even go to anyone who meets the definition of social or economic justice. To qualifyCandidates must have been convicted of a marijuana-related crime (or have a close family member who has) and ran a profitable business for the past two years, among other things.

The state has committed to opening its first retail cannabis stores before the end of the year, so there’s really no time to waste.

But the new retail stores don’t need medical operators, and won’t that return the Goliaths to a dominant position?

This is where the hands of managers are tied, to some extent. The state has issued temporary farming permits to hemp farmers whose products will be sold to retail stores first. But logistical constraints mean there will only be a limited number available, at least at first.

With a huge interest in cannabis in New York – think of selling to tourists! – officials don’t want empty shelves. The way to avoid that is to take cannabis supplements from medical operators.

Therefore, the state will soon have to address the position of medical operators in the market.

Whether they take a dominant position remains to be seen. Finally, each store will be able to open up to three retail counters. And, thanks to another rule, they will be vertically integrated – a big advantage. But regulators seem intent on making sure that small, new retailers get a real shot.


Prepare for the possibility of showers and thunderstorms late in the afternoon, with highs near the 80s. At night, showers and thunderstorms continue, with lows around 70s.


Valid until September 5 (Labor Day).

When you’re sweating on the subway platform and longing for the beach, here’s an obvious question: Why aren’t subway stations air-conditioned?

Short answer: The stations are old, and the air conditioning is expensive.

Our writer Robert Klara did some math behind, starting with the chiller at Grand Central Terminal. Not only do they cool the station for Metro-North commuters flocking to Pelham or Poughkeepsie, they also provide air for so-called on-site chillers at the adjacent Lexington Avenue subway station. On-site chillers may not work miracles, but they do what they can to make the platforms more durable.

Problem: There are 43 chillers in Grand Central. They cost about $10 million when installed in 2000, or about $17 million today. Multiply that by 281 — the number of subway stations — and the total comes to nearly $4.8 billion.

Danny Pearlstein, director of policy and communications at Riders Alliancea transit advocacy group.

And the MTA – the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates New York’s commuter rail and subway lines – is facing $2.5 billion deficit by 2025. Its financial insecurity is so deep that it is looking for a way to cut prices to bring in $1 billion a year from drivers to help fund public transport.

But that was August. If we can dream of the beach, why not dream of air-conditioned subway stations?

Dream on, said Jamie Torres-Springer, the transportation agency’s head of construction. “The basic fact is that a system as old as our subway is not designed for air conditioning,” he said, explaining that almost every mile of road is open to the atmosphere. There are stairs and sidewalks.

And then there are the trains. The air conditioning unit removes hot air from the inside of the car pumping it outside, into tunnels and train stations. So the trip is more pleasant, less waiting.

Temperatures were significantly lower at the system’s newest stations, including the line 7 extension to Hudson Yards and three new stops on the Second Avenue subway, thanks to cooling towers where exhaust fans gas through pipes filled with a mixture of cold water and glycol.

“It’s not a complete air conditioning solution,” says Torres-Springer. “But it can keep the temperature about 7 to 10 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature.”

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