New York looking for proposals for investors and builders of new cannabis stores

ALBANY — The State Dormitory Authority is seeking proposals from investors, as well as design-build companies, who want to participate in a program to help people with previous marijuana convictions create points of legitimate sales under the new state cannabis laws.

Specifically, the Dormitory Authority has issued two Requests for Proposals, or RFPs, for the Cannabis Social Equity Investment Program.

This public-private program is a key part of an initiative to help those ‘involved in justice’ earn a living under New York’s new cannabis law, which legalizes the sale of the substance to adults. for recreational purposes.

The Dormitory Authority plans a fund of $200 million, with $150 million available from private investors and $50 million from license fees and cannabis sales taxes.

The idea is to correct the shot that poor residents, as well as people of color, have been arrested and imprisoned for selling or distributing marijuana in far greater numbers than middle-to-upper-class residents. and whites.

To help address this past imbalance, individuals or people with family members who had been arrested for selling or distributing pot can now obtain some of the first retail licenses.

Other groups included in the equity plan include women or minority-owned business operators, disabled veterans, and distressed farmers.

Overall, the state hopes that half of cannabis sales licenses will go to social entrepreneurs.

Similar efforts have been attempted in other states, but they haven’t gone well, with one reason being fledgling cannabis retailers don’t have enough capital and the right location for a successful store.

That’s why the Dormitory Authority is looking for private equity partners to help fund new licensees.

And they want to hire design-build firms to locate and set up what would be the physical dispensaries that applicants would support and operate. This would involve finding and acquiring a good retail location and physically preparing it for doing business.

Retailers under the equity plan will need to meet two criteria to qualify:

First, they must have a cannabis-related conviction that occurred before the legalization of marijuana on March 31, 2021, or have a parent, guardian, child, spouse, or dependent with a cannabis-related conviction before legalization.

Additionally, they must have experience owning and operating a successful business in New York.

The tenders published this week relate to two phases.

One involves selecting a fund sponsor, general partner, or fund manager to manage the cannabis social investment program.
Proposals must be submitted no later than June 8, with RFP award announced no earlier than June 20.

The other RFP is for the selection of design-build firms to support retail store development.

The Dormitory Authority expects up to 150 dispensaries to be completed across the state.

Proposals must be submitted by June 13, with tender awards announced no earlier than July 11.

The program will identify and lease locations across the state to be conditional adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries, operated by social equity entrepreneurs. The fund will also advance money for the construction, equipment and rental costs of these sites for reimbursement by social equity entrepreneurs.

For more information, contact the New York State Dormitory Authority at the Funding Partner and Design-Build Company websites or visit opportunities/rfps-bids/2022/new-york-social-equity-cannabis-investment-fund and dispensaries.

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