New York now accepting applications to open recreational cannabis dispensaries

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NEW YORK — A New York man who served time for marijuana charges now hopes for a license to sell it legally. 

The state has set aside 150 retail licenses for people with pot related offenses to promote social justice equity. 

As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reports, inside an historic Bronx building, entrepreneurs were looking to the future, cheering as their application for a license to sell cannabis products was uploaded and accepted on a state website. 

“This is a life-changing, historical moment. We could possibly be one of the first dispensaries in the whole state of New York,” said Coss Marte. 

Marte founded “CONBUD.” The name is a nod to his past convictions on drug charges. He turned his life around and is grateful New York is reserving 150 licenses for people impacted by enforcement of prior prohibitions on cannabis. 

“I was 13 when I was incarcerated for marijuana. To see that today I’m going to possibly open a dispensary where I’ll be selling weed legally, it’s just, I would never imagine this,” Marte said. 

“For New York state to open it to formerly incarcerated individuals convicted of marijuana offenses is a game changer. It allows generational wealth to be built for individuals who are formerly incarcerated,” said CONBUD partner Alfredo Angueira. 

New York’s social equity program will put 70 of the 150 dispensaries in the five boroughs, 20 on suburban Long Island, 17 in Westchester and the mid-Hudson region. 

The state is spending $200 million to get vacant spaces ready for retail sales of pot. The state of New York will take the empty space, renovate it, equip it, even decorate it, then hand the key to the social equity entrepreneurs, ready for them to operate it.

“The opportunity to receive an operation turnkey, it’s amazing. We have been getting ready for this moment,” said CONBUD partner Junior Martinez. 

Application submitted – now they wait for the state, and look to the future. 

They shouldn’t have to wait too long. The state hopes to open the first of the 150 dispensaries by early next year. 

The application window closes on Sept. 26. 

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