CAURD (Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary) license applications were the first Dispensary applications to open in New York State. Applicants are businesses owned by justice-involved individuals and are positioned to be the first dispensaries open for legal adult-use cannabis sales in the state. On October 28, 2022, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) released a guidance document that serves to provide the regulatory framework that will assist Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary licensees on how to operate their dispensaries before regulations are formally adopted. Additionally, On Monday, November 21, New York took a significant step toward launching the legal market for recreational cannabis by approving 36 businesses and nonprofits for licenses to operate as the first retail dispensaries in the state.
While some things are still undetermined, an Interim Compliance Plan is a necessity. Applicants may be asked to submit the records and plans described in the OCM’s Guidance for Adult-Use Retail Dispensaries and will have an ongoing obligation to maintain up-to-date versions of all records and plans described in the Guidance document. Noncompliance may be grounds for a penalty or the surrender, suspension, revocation, or non-renewal of the CAURD license.
Beginning the preparation and planning of your cannabis Dispensary operations NOW will allow you the time later to focus on the proper execution of your strategies and assist your business in capturing tremendous market share. Don’t risk waiting until the last minute to gather all your documents and complete detailed requirements. Your market share is waiting.
How will first mover advantage help my CAURD capture market share?
Is it better to be first to market in a nascent cannabis market, or is it better to follow the market leader and mitigate costly mistakes? Who captures more market share? Many ganjapreneurs claim their stake in market share by entering into the market before anyone else. First-mover advantage allows a company to establish strong brand recognition and acquire loyal customers before competitors even arrive.
First-mover advantage comes easy to companies who have their operational plans tried and proven in other established cannabis markets. Companies early to open in new adult-use cannabis markets benefit by:
- Having more time to perfect their product or service.
- Setting the market price.
- Enjoying little to no early competition.
Many businesses work quickly to get their latest products to consumers as fast as they can to stay competitive in their industry. Being focused on their speed-to-market can mean a difference in public perceptions; whether or not a company is considered to be a leader or a follower. While it may seem the best practice, claiming the market leader status has a number of benefits and potential drawbacks. Maintaining a leadership position means constantly defending business, protecting market share, and keeping your customers waiting for the next product offering.
The benefits can help catapult your company as a competitive industry leader once you’ve secured your market’s top spot and are the first choice of customers. You have high market credibility and are the benchmark to which your competition will be compared. As an industry leader, you can start trends and become the business consumers watch for new products and ideas. Reaching consumers faster than your competition can help you make your brand more recognizable, creating better brand awareness and therefore higher brand loyalty.
What does the guidance document mean for my CAURD application?
On Friday, October 28, 2022, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) released its “Guidance for Adult-Use Dispensaries” (the Regulations). The intent of releasing these regulations is to provide guidance for Conditional Adult-Use Retails Dispensary (CAURD) licensees and applicants. Although the document calls regulation “guidance,” all CAURD applicants should learn the details and requirements of these guidance regulations as these are Regulations that both licensees and applicants are required to follow.
Pursuant to the guidance document, all CAURD applicants must have these records and plans on file. They may also be asked to submit the records and plans described in this guidance on the CAURD application and at the request of the OCM. Failure to submit, or refusal to submit, required materials may subject CAURD applicants to denial or non-selection of the applicant for a CAURD license. This is a clear sign that the OCM is gearing up to issue CAURD licenses and is consistent with Governor Hochul’s statement that adult-use retail dispensaries will open in 2022. It is also a clear sign that licensees will have a lot of preparation, planning, and reporting to provide to the OCM to secure and maintain their licenses.
The information contained in the Regulations is a mix of substantive requirements, operational guidance, and insight into the OCM’s plans for the issuance of licenses and operation of New York’s cannabis industry. The guidance document serves to provide the framework that will assist CAURD licensees to plan how to operate their dispensary before regulations are formally adopted. This guidance document provides clarity on what the expectations are in relation to those regulations and laws currently in place and the regulations that will be promulgated in the future. But it is also apparent that the Regulations will be the framework for all adult-use retail dispensaries in New York.
What resources are available for CAURD applicants?
The NYC Department of Small Business Services launched Cannabis NYC to support the development of a thriving and equitable cannabis industry with first-of-its-kind support for aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs. Through strategic outreach, public engagement, business services, and advocacy efforts, Cannabis NYC will support the creation of good jobs, successful small businesses, and sustainable economic opportunities to address the historic harms of cannabis prohibition.
Cannabis NYC will provide the following:
- Application Support: Answer questions about CAURD application requirements, hold educational webinars, and work with license applicants to complete the application during the month-long application period from August 25, 2022–September 26, 2022.
- Support Beyond the License: Connect aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs to no-cost services, along with technical assistance, to support successful businesses.
- Long-Term Industry Support: Expand programming as the industry grows to connect New Yorkers to good jobs and build strong businesses in the cannabis industry, as well as ancillary industries that do not “touch the plant.”
How can Mary Jane Marketer help me capture more market share?
Mary Jane Marketer has created a turnkey solution that provides step-by-step guidance for implementing an Interim Regulatory Compliance Plan which embraces all applicable Federal, State, and local Municipal regulatory requirements of the license. This is a very long, labor-intensive document that will detail out all procedural steps in the dispensary’s compliant operations. Mary Jane Marketer will utilize Industry best practices to create detailed standard operating procedures and plans so that you meet these Interim Operational Compliance requirements pertaining to:
- Staffing Plan
- Staff Training and Training Manuals
- Security Plan
- Site Plan
- Operational Plans and Procedures
The key requirements of the Guidance Document stipulate that all Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary Applicants:
- May be asked to submit the records and plans described in this guidance on the CAURD application and at the request of the Office. Failure to submit, or refusal to submit, required materials may subject CAURD applicants to denial or non-selection of the applicant for a CAURD license.
- Have an ongoing obligation to maintain up-to-date versions of all records and plans described in this document or submitted with their application. Licensees must submit such records to the Office upon request and have an ongoing obligation to disclose to the Office material changes in such records and plans. Licensees’ noncompliance with requests for such information from the Office may be grounds for a penalty or the surrender, suspension, revocation, or non-renewal of the CAURD license.
The Office of Cannabis Management claims that the first dispensaries will open before 2022 ends. Get ahead of your competitors and have your operational plans and standard operating procedures started today. Your market share is waiting.