New York State has just completed its inaugural year of legal adult-use cannabis retail sales, generating approximately $150 million in revenue. While this may seem like a slow start for a newly regulated market, industry experts predict that it will eventually grow to generate billions of dollars.
As of now, New York has a total of 40 recreational retail dispensaries operating across the state. The final sales figures for December are still being tallied, but it is expected that total revenue will surpass the $150 million mark.
In comparison, states with more established adult-use cannabis programs have been experiencing much higher revenue figures. California, for example, brings in an impressive $423 million per month in legal adult-use cannabis sales. Massachusetts and Illinois also report monthly sales figures of $132.6 million and $143.9 million, respectively.
However, New York’s journey towards a thriving legal cannabis market has not been without its challenges. The state has been dealing with the presence of unlicensed stores that have cropped up all over, as well as facing various legal battles.
Fortunately, the pace of awarding licenses in New York has recently accelerated. This comes after the New York State Cannabis Control Board resolved a lawsuit brought by disabled veterans who were challenging the state’s Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensaries program.
Additionally, in November, the state officially granted permission for existing medical-use licensees to participate in the recreational market. Some of the companies involved in this expansion include Columbia Care, Curaleaf Holdings Inc., Etain, Nycanna LLC, PharmaCann, and Valley Agriceuticals LLC.
New York’s Growing Cannabis Industry
Several companies have already established themselves in New York’s medical cannabis program, including Curaleaf Holdings, RIV Capital Inc., Green Thumb Industries Inc., and privately-held PharmaCann. While the state has been granting more licenses for retail sales, cultivation, and processing, it has also been cracking down on unlicensed pot sellers that have emerged.
In 2023 alone, New York issued 305 notices of violation and orders to cease, leading to the seizure of over 11,600 pounds of illicit products worth $56 million.
Although recreational cannabis became legal in New York in 2021, licenses were initially only granted to social-equity applicants. However, recent developments have changed this landscape.
In addition to these developments, Housing Works Cannabis Co., the state’s first licensed adult-use cannabis dispensary, celebrated its one-year anniversary with impressive sales reaching $24 million.
This dispensary is managed by Housing Works, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing housing, healthcare, and other essential services to New Yorkers affected by homelessness, substance abuse, AIDS, and involvement in the criminal justice system.
Also read: New York marks first legal cannabis sale as prohibition officially ends in the Empire State