What to expect with New York’s top 200 adult dispensaries


Many New Yorkers are eagerly awaiting the legal purchase of cannabis for adult use once the NYS Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) gives the green light. I’ve seen it a few times, in Colorado and Massachusetts: the anticipation, camaraderie, exhaustion and simultaneous annoyance of higher prices due to taxation and waiting in line on the first day of legal cannabis sales.

But do consumers know what these first 200 New York dispensaries will actually look like? Well look at our north very stylish neighbor, Montreal, and their government-operated stores.

Following the New York State (NYS) budget bill on April 9, which granted $50 million in public funds and statutory powers to the New York State Dormitory Authority (DASNY ), NYS has issued a request for proposals, ending June 13, for contractors to provide fully furnished, “turnkey” dispensaries, fully equipped with point-of-sale systems, security, safes, cameras, bathrooms, offices, etc. For those envisioning funky, innovative, and unique stores, DASNY will likely make these first 200 dispensaries evenly uniform inside and out, except for a so-called “brand wall” with which incumbents licensing can get creative.

Retail Details

DASNY’s May 13 Design-Build Services RFP for Select Retail Cannabis Dispensaries #7586 provides an overview of NYS’s top 200 adult-use retail dispensaries.

According to the tender (request for proposals), DASNY will act as an agent for the Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, LP (NYSECIF) of New York to identify suitable commercial properties for the dispensaries, and to design and equip these premises. leased subject to future retail dispensary security regulations. NYSECIF will then sublet these properties to applicants for the applicable retail license to operate. Dominant proponents must be selected by July 11 to begin designing and building cannabis dispensaries across New York State.

These dispensaries will be “evenly dispersed across” 10 geographic regions of New York State, according to NYSECIF, with New York being the No. 1 region. DASNY “anticipate[s] that approximately 150 dispensaries will need to be completed statewide,” with the highest concentration in the New York metropolitan area, including Long Island and Westchester. Rough approximations in other parts of the state include 20-25 in Western New York, 15-20 in the Hudson Valley/Capital District area, 5-10 in the north of the country and 5 to 10 in the region of the southern part of the state.

Interestingly, the DASNY tender envisions the construction of dispensaries ranging in size from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet by various regional contractors, who will also handle all filing, licensing, license and regulatory approval. (It’s hard to imagine DASNY getting 3,000 square feet of retail space in prime New York shopping corridors!). The contractors will design and install security systems and cameras that comply with upcoming security regulations, as well as “furnish and equip” the dispensaries.

Building regulations

This RFP provides those considering applying for second-round/private-owned retail licenses with the general requirements for these state-built stores. For the sales space, the reception space can be closed or open, and the check-in space can be separated or combined with the reception space, both depending on the location. Dispensaries may also have an open sales floor and display area, including a prominent “brand wall”, with sales counter and service space allowing for “approximately 5-10 outlets and/or kiosks “.

This RFP also directs the existing contractor to construct a “back of house” area for staff to “move, process, pack and fulfill customer product and merchandise orders”, as well as a reception area and a “cannabis processing work room”. Other requirements include a safe and/or secure warehouse; a “Quarantine/Secure” waste room; offices and a rest room for staff; bathrooms accessible to employees and customers with disabilities; a janitor’s closet; and an electrical/data/security closet. The RFP calls for a floor plan and layout to “allow for the best disbursement and flow of customers/visitors while feeling inviting and personal.”

Security requirements

Dispensaries will require indoor and outdoor video surveillance, access controls, and intrusion systems, with security plans consistent with New York State Department of Health security requirements. These include alarms and backup alarms; motion detectors; video cameras with 24-hour recording (9600 dpi) and timestamping; panic button at the sales counter; glass break detectors; automatic voice dialer or digital dialer; failure notification system; “ability to remain operational during a power outage”; maintenance of all security equipment and records in a restricted secure location; lighted exterior; doors with pinless hinges; and secure network access.

Cannabis storage (vault) must have walls and ceiling framed with heavy gauge metal studs and joists with 9 gauge expanded metal mesh installed on the unsecured side of the frame with tamper evident ties.

Exterior windows must meet all current NYS/NYC energy conservation building code requirements and include laminated glazing treated with a security film to prevent the glazing from falling off in the event of breakage.

Additional heightened security measures may be required in some localities, such as NYC, where privacy controls, roll-down security barriers, and the use of ballistic glass may be required.

Odor reduction systems, with ventilation and filtration systems to reduce the smell of cannabis, may be required in some localities.

HVAC and backup power systems (battery or generator) will be required during a power outage to provide continuous power for secure door access control, 24/7 remote alarm, systems camera monitoring and recording, and preferably HVAC conditioning for computer/data room and Vault and POS Stations as well.

Turnkey construction for the first 200 retail dispensaries

DASNY will have NYSECIF subcontractors build the interior, from flooring to “brand wall,” according to the tender, as well as ATMs, furniture, fixtures and equipment, and point-of-sale (POS) systems, for the first 200 licensees. The store will also be fully connected, either by WiFi or LAN cabling, to the point of sale, seed-to-sale tracking system and security systems. Essentially, DASNY will hook up the entire dispensary.

New York radically redefined social justice when it launched these new adult clinics. As any operator knows, launching a successful cannabis retail business requires an enormous amount of research, time, knowledge, connections, and understanding of contracts, commercial leases, and most importantly, start-up capital. By eliminating knowledge gaps, securing commercial property and providing necessary equipment, New York has doubled down on its commitment to ensuring that people with previous cannabis convictions (or an immediate family member) have a fair chance. and equal to succeed. (The first 200 Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses will be awarded to applicants who have been found guilty of a cannabis conviction by the NYS, or have an immediate family member convicted, and who meet the other candidate requirements.)

This sweeping commitment to economic fairness and justice will certainly court many naysayers and critics, but deep down, those financially and personally devastated by cannabis convictions may finally have a chance to rebuild their lives.

Wei Hu, Esq., is the founding partner of MRTA Law, PC, a New York State cannabis law firm with offices in Manhattan and Ulster County. He also teaches Social and Economic Equity in Cannabis at LIM College in New York and is a member of the NYS Cannabis Industry Association.

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