ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – The state’s Office of Cannabis Management took a big step forward in the retail dispensary process on Thursday by accepting applications. This is part of New York’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative which prioritizes those who were negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition.

“The wording I heard Tremaine Wright use is that she wants to see many, many, many millionaires, not just one or two billionaires and I think that’s a really healthy way to think about a market and I think it’ll be great for New York,” said Cannabis attorney, Jeffrey Hoffman.

It was previously medical marijuana staking its share in the cannabis industry, but that’s since changed, Hoffman said the Board’s priority is for social equity applicants and New York businesses, but that doesn’t mean previous shareholders are forgotten, “Eventually the ROs – the Registered Organizations – who are selling medical cannabis in the state will be able to get into the adult use market, they’ll each be able to have three dispensaries which is the most any entity or person can have an interest in, but the timing for that is entirely within the purview of the Cannabis Control Board,” he said.

Applicants must meet two criteria: first the applicant or a close relative needs to have a marijuana-related offense that happened before the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act passed, and they must also have some experience owning and operating a successful business.

The office of Cannabis Management holding a virtual presser today, Executive Director Chris Alexander says they’re not just handing out licenses, “We’re also securing real estate, building stores out, with a support of the social equity cannabis investment fund this is an incredible opportunity, for supporting our entrepreneurs with capital, with real estate and with a real opportunity to build a brand, a customer base and really get their businesses off the ground in the right way. The application deadline ends September 26th.