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Two cannabis shops seek licenses to open storefronts in Astoria

(Photo via Getty Images)

March 29, 2023 By Julia Moro

Community Board 1 will hold a meeting Monday, April 3, to discuss the Office of Cannabis Management’s (OCM) intent to grant licenses to Blaze Astoria on Steinway Street and Urban Weeds on Ditmars Boulevard.

The board received a 30-day notice regarding the licensure of the two cannabis shops set to open in Astoria.

Though they are not yet in the neighborhood, these two shops would be the first to sell adult-use medical marijuana and cannabis hemp products legally within the confines of Community Board 1.

OCM is the New York state agency tasked with licensing businesses to participate in adult-use, medical and cannabinoid hemp sales. The OCM is developing regulations outlining how a person or business can apply for and receive a license in the new cannbis industry.

Pursuant to Section 76 of the Cannabis Law, no less than 30 days before filing an application for licensure, the applicant must notify the municipality — in this case Community Board 1 — in which the premises is located.

The two businesses looking to open in Astoria would receive a Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) license.

The OCM has been hit with a lawsuit challenging the office’s authority to set policy, arguing it should be the state Legislature to set these regulations. Right now, CAURD licenses are reserved for “justice involved” people, meaning New Yorkers with marijuana convictions and their close relatives. The group suing the OCM wishes to open up dispensary applications to all businesses, not just justice-involved candidates.

On the OCM website, it states: “The OCM will promote social and economic equity applicants who have been harmed by the prohibition of cannabis for adult-use licenses, establishing a goal of awarding 50% of licenses to social and economic equity applicants.”

The Community Board 1 meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 3, via Zoom.

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