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New Yorkers can apply for retail cannabis dispensary licenses starting August 25

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New York will issue its first business licenses for cannabis dispensaries to applicants who have been harmed by the war on drugs. The state will begin accepting applications in two weeks. 

Prospective business owners will be able to apply online from Aug. 25 through Sept. 26.

The applicant — or a close family member — must have a prior conviction from before March 31, 2021 for a marijuana-related offense to qualify for the license. That requirement will make New York’s retail cannabis industry the "most equitable, diverse, and accessible cannabis industry in the nation," according to Chris Alexander, executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management.

"New York has affirmed our commitment to making sure the first sales are conducted by those harmed by prohibition," said Tremaine Wright, chair of the Cannabis Control Board.

Applicants also need to have past experience running a business.

The state Office of Cannabis Management released a training video for the application process and urged New Yorkers to start preparing their documentation before the application window opens.

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.