ALBANY – The Cuomo administration said Tuesday that 43 entities have applied to compete for the five licenses that will be awarded this summer to begin the state’s new medical marijuana program.
The information is far from transparent: all that the state Health department released was a list of entity names, in alphabetical order, with no details about where grow or dispensing facilities might be located.
Several groups acknowledged an interest in growing and distributing medical marijuana from facilities in Western New York, but the list made public Tuesday evening provides no information about precisely where the state’s 20 dispensing facilities could be located.
The state last year approved a program to provide medical marijuana, in a format that cannot be smoked, to qualified patients suffering from a limited number of serious health ailments. The program is on a tight deadline: applicants are expected to build facilities, grow the marijuana and turn it into a qualified format by early January.
The strict provisions of some aspects of New York’s marijuana regulations, as well as a $20,000 non-refundable application fee, helped to keep the final application far below early estimates of potentially hundreds of entities trying to enter the new marijuana marketplace.