Confusion and Frustration Surround New York's Cannabis License Lottery


Well-known member
Aug 26, 2023
Applicants seeking marijuana dispensary licenses in New York are frustrated with the state's Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). The OCM's randomized lottery system for processing licenses has confused many applicants. The licensing process will approve only around 16 percent of the total 1,500 applicants. Those who spent money securing locations but didn't get a license are not happy with the system. They have raised concerns about fairness in the randomized lottery system and questioned its ability to meet the legal requirement of allocating 50 percent of permits to Social and Economic Equity applicants.

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They should be working with the people wanting to start up these dispensaries. Work with them to figure out a solution that works for all. To me, it looks like the state is trying to slow the process down for starting dispensaries, almost like they don't want dispensaries to come up. Especially if they only intend to approve around 16%.

They shouldn't be forced to pay and not be given a chance. And the fact it's a lottery system sounds even worse, because who's to say you're allowing legit businesses through. It sounds like the state is lazy and doesn't want to deal with the process of speaking with these people about their interest in staring a dispensary. How about start with whether these people can start a dispensary and if they follow all legal standards and rules and that's all you should need to do.
Yeah this is a dumb method for issuing licenses. Did they ever do this for alcohol and cigarettes? I'm kind of doubting that. And they have to pay to be included in this lottery? I don't think it should be a lottery system, it should be a first come first serve basis. Or should be based on the best candidates first.

And @Jake makes a good point. What happens if the lottery picks someone undeserving of a license in the first place?