NY Cannabis Insider is set to host the state's first Cannabis Industry Summit & Conference on May 18, 2023, at The Desmond Hotel in Albany, New York. The summit aims to identify challenges and propose solutions in the burgeoning New York cannabis industry. The conference will bring together industry professionals, including growers, processors, retailers, attorneys, consultants, and politicians, for a day of bluntness and problem-solving.
Conference organizers laid out a list of 10 "Problems" Facing the Industry that they anticipate will be the primary topics of conversation at the event. These include:
1. Problem #1: There aren’t enough legal recreational cannabis dispensaries open across the state.
This means farmers and processors have nowhere to sell their crop; ancillary service providers (accountants, attorneys, real estate agents, etc.) have no businesses to service; and the illicit market continues to thrive and outperform the legal industry.
2. Problem #2: DASNY and its fund managers have raised $0 for the Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary program.
The Dormitory Authority of the State of NY and its fund managers were supposed to have raised $150M from private investors by Sept. 1, 2022. This is money that is supposed to pay for the build outs and loans for CAURD licensees. To date, none of it has been raised.
3. Problem #3: DASNY is competing against CAURD licensees for locations.
CAURD licensees who don’t want a DASNY store or support from DASNY’s fund must still get their location approved by the agency to make sure it doesn’t conflict with a site the agency is negotiating.
4. Problem #4: June 1 deadline.
Adult-Use Conditional Cultivators and Processors can only distribute their products to retailers until June 1, 2023. The OCM hasn’t yet set rules for legal distributors, let alone began the licensing process. If there’s no legislative fix by June 1, there’s no way legally to get product from the supply tier to the retail tier.
5. Problem #5: Crumbling medical program
Seven years after medical sales began, there are only 38 medical dispensaries across the state of New York. The medical companies are suing the state over the CAURD program and their inability to enter the recreational market, and those companies are also laying off workers and cutting hours. At the end of the day, it’s the state’s patients who suffer from a lack of access, product types and affordability.
6. Problem #6: The 4/20 bill
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Michelle Hinchey have introduced legislation that would allow cultivators to sell their products directly to consumers until Sept. 30, 2023. However, this legislation has stoked division between CAURD licensees and growers, and may not even be feasible given the time constraints and lack of capital among growers to institute a “mini retail store” on their property.
7. Problem #7: Enforcement
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s enforcement bill has made it into this year’s budget. It aims to increase fines against unlicensed businesses and gives broader authorities to OCM and the Department of Taxation and Finance. But how likely is it to work? And will this effort target Black and brown business owners, reopen the War on Drugs, or miss an opportunity for onboarding these businesses and their tax revenues?
8. Problem #8: Lack of communication
Whether it’s with OCM, DASNY or among each other, NY’s cannabis industry lacks the communication avenues necessary to enact meaningful dialogue and an exchange of ideas. Those in the industry often feel they’re getting nowhere with OCM, DASNY is a black box that answers to no one, and supply tiers are often separated both by geographical distance and motivations.
9. Problem #9: Legacy
How does the legacy industry successfully onboard into legal without necessary support, financial aid, banking, and other services? Is that a priority for this industry?
10. Problem #10: ???
What are the other problems we’re missing?
In a unique twist, conference organizers partnered up with a professional mediation firm to help guide discussions around these problems and frustrations that industry members are experiencing here in New York State. Attendees will have an opportunity to speak openly and have their voices heard. After diving deep into the issues, we'll spend the afternoon finding solutions and ways to solve some of the most pressing issues presented.
Concurrent to the open forum, the conference will also host informative breakout sessions where attendees can learn more about what's next in the industry and best practices for cannabis business owners
In addition to the facilitated forum, there will be panel discussions throughout the day in a secondary room focused on retail operations, current regulations, timelines, the medical program, best practices for startups, and other topics. Attendees can avail of lightning-round business consultations, multiple networking opportunities, lunch, happy hour, and much more.
The NY Cannabis Insider Industry Summit is an all-day event that features on-site networking, and access to thought leaders and experts in the cannabis industry. The general admission ticket, priced at $195, provides attendees with all-access to the event. Readers of The Bluntness can save 15% off of the ticket by using code. - THEBLUNTNESS - when registering! Here is the link to the event websiteand direct link to the ticketing page.
The summit is an excellent opportunity to learn about what community members are doing and seeing in the industry. Lucas McCann, a 2022 event participant, said, "NY Cannabis Insider events are important to learn about what community members are doing and seeing in the industry because they draw stakeholders out."
The summit is the first cannabis "summit" of 2023 in the state, with two additional full-day conferences happening in Buffalo on September 21 and in White Plains/Greater NYC on November 15. These events are attended by industry professionals, entrepreneurs, and key stakeholders in the state's nascent industry, as well as those from cannabis-adjacent businesses such as legal, security, retail, banking, finance, construction, engineering, business consultation, marketing and medical expertise.
Space is limited at each event, and sponsorships are available. Those interested in sponsorship opportunities to reach this audience can contact Lindsay Wickham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bluntness is an official media sponsor of the NY Cannabis Insider Conference & Summit.