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NYS grows some branches of state's marijuana market while pruning others

A judge's gavel lays next to a marijuana plant leaf, depicting the legalization of marijuana.
New York Office Of Cannabis Management
A new category of license offers "craft cannabis" opportunities.

New York State continues to expand its cannabis market as it curtails others.

On Wednesday, the state began accepting applications for “craft” marijuana ventures, the newest of five adult-use cannabis licenses. The microbusiness license was approved earlier this year and is essentially for those who want to be "microbrewers" – of weed. It allows holders to grow, process and sell a limited amount of their own product all under one permit and within specific regulations.

A single adult-use application costs $1,000 to file and an additional $4,500 licensing fee is applied to microbusinesses. These fees are halved for applicants who are members of a community disproportionately impacted by the state’s previous cannabis policies; women-and-minority-owned businesses; distressed farmers; and service-disabled veterans.

Meanwhile, Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced that, alongside a push to make more licenses available to entrepreneurs, the state will continue to take aggressive action against unlicensed ventures.

According to a press release announcing the new licenses, the state's Office of Cannabis Management and Department of Taxation and Finance say they have seized more than 8,500 pounds of illegal cannabis products with an estimated value of over $42 million since June. Including from five smoke shops in Syracuse.

The application window for the five adult-use cannabis licenses — for microbusiness, cultivator, processor, distributor or retail dispensary — will close on Dec. 2.

The state says it will begin awarding licenses in early 2024.

Patrick McCullough is a graduate student studying Library Science at Syracuse University. He is expected to graduate in May, 2026. As a student contributor at WAER, Patrick produces digital and audio stories.