What happens when two Buffalo Bills fans get together to talk cannabis? Vangst Founder and CEO Karson Humiston is joined by New York Cannabis attorney, Joe Schafer from Lippes & Mathias LLP, for an update on what’s happening in the New York cannabis market, in real-time. With the recent release of the regulations for the non-conditional licenses, in January 2023, there felt like no better time to get a refresher on the timeline of cannabis in New York, and to get a reminder of the bright future that the New York Cannabis market has ahead. Find more information on Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) at: https://cannabis.ny.gov/marihuana-regulation-and-taxation-act-mrta Produced By PodConx https://www.linkedin.com/in/karson-humiston-64572b97/ https://vangst.com/ https://www.lippes.com/team/joseph-w-schafer-320 https://www.linkedin.com/in/joseph-schafer-63339a90/
What happens when two Buffalo Bills fans get together to talk cannabis?
Vangst Founder and CEO Karson Humiston is joined by New York Cannabis attorney, Joe Schafer from Lippes & Mathias LLP, for an update on what’s happening in the New York cannabis market, in real-time. With the recent release of the regulations for the non-conditional licenses, in January 2023, there felt like no better time to get a refresher on the timeline of cannabis in New York, and to get a reminder of the bright future that the New York Cannabis market has ahead. Find more information on Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) at: https://cannabis.ny.gov/marihuana-regulation-and-taxation-act-mrta
Produced By PodConx
Recorded on Squadcast
VT Joe Schafer
Joe Schafer: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. My name's Joe Schaffer. I'm an attorney at Lips Mathias, focusing in the cannabis industry, and I'm proud to work in cannabis, not just because of the daily challenges that we all face, because we're building great businesses, changing lives in the process, and most importantly, we're having a great time doing it.
Karson Humiston: Hey everybody, and welcome to season two of the Proud to Work in Cannabis podcast. I'm your host, Carson Humiston, the founder of Ston Stay. I'm very excited because I have my friend from Buffalo, Joe Schaffer. Joining us, Joe is an attorney at Lippi and Mathias. Joe, welcome to the Pod.
Joe Schafer: Carson, I'm psyched to be here and obviously you know the Buffalo connection's. And I, I'd be remiss if I didn't start with start the podcast off with this Go Bills.
Karson Humiston: Go Bills. I've got my bill's hat on, which actually it I know that we, we talked a little bit before we got on here, but we just got the positive update that DeMar, it woke up and actually the first [00:01:00] thing he asked. we win? Which feels very Buffalo what a week for Buffalo?
Joe Schafer: It's been unreal. , reading the tweets and everything that came out, , just, , let's just talk about the experience that it was. , obviously, everybody around the country had that experience on Monday night Football. You got this huge game and I, with the two of us growing up in the South Towns, , I was five minutes from the stadium growing up my entire life, and I think you were, what, 10, it's, it's in.
Karson Humiston: stadium.
Joe Schafer: It's ingrained in our culture. It's ingrained in who we are and we wear it like a badge of honor often, and then all of a sudden something so tragic happens. And I think, it was, it was like, I didn't know. It felt like one of my family members was sick. I'm sure. I assume you felt the same way.
Karson Humiston: Absolutely. And , I've grew up going to the Bills games with my dad and Logan, my sister, and. Kind of took a little bit of a break and now my fiance is a huge football fan, so I've really gotten back into it and it, it's been a good couple years to get back into it with the bills.
And so yeah, , we were watching and I felt like someone I knew was out there on the field and it just couldn't, was [00:02:00] refreshing Twitter all night long to see if there was any update.
Joe Schafer: Yeah. The past, four days now have been. I feel like we've been on, just on an emotional yo-yo. , it's been crazy. , obviously with the great news yesterday that he woke up and like you said, Carson, he writes, the first thing he does, he writes, he didn't know that it was two days later, he first thing he writes on a pad, cuz he was still on a breathing tube, is, did we win the game?
And I love the doctor's response, which was, Yes, DeMar, you won. You won the game of life. And I mean, just reading that and hearing it from the doctors in their press conference was amazing. Only to have, today we wake up to even better news that not only was the breathing tube removed, but he's FaceTiming his teammates and, basically hyping him up for the last game of the season and, and going into the playoffs.
So if. Look, I'm not a doctor, I'm an attorney. I'm, I'm about as far from a doctor as it is, but it seems like all, all signs lead to a, a full recovery for DeMar. And the doctors are saying that, the, the best case scenario is he turns to exactly the person who he was before he went into the hospital, which I mean, at this point is the best news we could ever hope for.
Karson Humiston: just the, the [00:03:00] people of Buffalo, I mean like there's no fans, like the Bills fans and just to see everybody come together. And I also thought it was really cool to see all the other teams come together, right? Everybody changed their. know, their Twitter handles and their, and their logos and lights around their stadiums.
Just to show like the community. I, I was really, really uplifted by obviously with the outcomes that we're hopefully moving towards. So it's really rough start to the week, but it's we're, it seems like we're moving in the right direction.
Joe Schafer: Sure. And it was, I think that, for us as, as Bills fans, there always seems to be a fundraiser or getting behind somebody. And we, we've done this so many times when we made the playoffs for the first time in, in my, as far as I could, I was born in 1990, I don't really remember the Super Bowl years.
So I was ne my team, my bills teams were never in the playoffs. And sure enough, you have the. the win when the Bengals won and got us into the playoff by beating the Ravens on that last second touchdown. I think we raised, the, the, the fan base raised [00:04:00] hundreds of thousands of dollars for Randy Dalton's charity and their, it's, it's something they consistently do.
But to see, like you said, the whole, like the entire fan base of the NFL jumping in the stadiums lit up, different ho, hockey, basketball arenas. I mean, people who you don't even think would ever comment on, our. what used to be lowly buffalo Bills being in the spotlight and being a part of the conversation, and ra, raising awareness for, mental health around and, and the great people.
What's, what's really cool is, is the fo one of the athletic trainers, one of the guys who, who started CPR on, on DeMar he's actually my parents' neighbor, which is really cool, and, and his, his little dog. . Yeah. His little dog is friends with my parents' dog. So when they walk they'll all, hang out.
So I, I, I think I think the athletic trainer's gonna be a little bit busy these days, but I look forward to hearing, my dad's first interaction with them. Cuz those, those guys are buddies. My dad will talk like me, he'll talk to anybody.
Karson Humiston: dog walk. I mean, and those, I mean it what I mean, amazing modern medicine, right? I mean the people on the field just, it is absolutely amazing. So anyway, I think we could probably talk about the bills for this [00:05:00] entire podcast and. To our listeners listening, we do think that the bills will win the Super Bowl, so watch out.
anyway, so Joe, we got to know each other because of course we've been working on building banks and you've been an attorney in Buffalo. Talk to us about how you decided that you were going to focus on the New York cannabis space.
Joe Schafer: Yeah, , I gotta give a lot of respect to some of, like, the OG cannabis people, and I'll, I'll recognize that I'm not, , New York came online really, and. 2019 with the introduction of our hemp industry.
And that's where, that's where I got in. I was I went to law school to work in sports. I thought I was gonna be the president of Buff of the Buffalo Bills, growing up down the street. I figured, oh, neighborly connection, walk right in. No problem. And while, while sports are also a part of my practice and, and I love the work, it's, especi.
And I think Carson, you're a perfect example of how cannabis in a lot of ways is a young person's game. There's so many young entrepreneurs, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed looking at cannabis as an opportunity. Obviously with all the social equity opportunities and opportunities for young [00:06:00] people. We're really kind of, millennials are really living up to what we're, what we, what we pretend to be, which is really caring about people and building great businesses.
And I think the cannabis industry is a great cross section of that. You can speak to that more than I, I'm just the service provider in the industry. But yeah, 2019 came around and I was, I was a litigation associate and I had the opportunity to just wrestle with some of the hemp regs in, in New York state that were brand new at the time and.
We started counseling clients on how to, how to become hemp processors, how to make the first CBD gummies in the state. Then it evolved into, D eight and compliant D nine, and then all of a sudden we're, we're gifted. Well, gift and a curse, right? But we're gifted with the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act in March of 2021.
And since then it's just been, I mean, it's thi to use a bad buffalo metaphor, things have really snowball. Just, just, and I was, honestly, I've been captivated by the space since hemp regs, but, adult uses, it's almost, it's intoxicating in a lot of ways because of, we always, the, the, the message from regulators is we we're building the plane as it [00:07:00] flies in New York.
And I understand that's not unique to New York, but I think that, a little bit nerdy here, the way that the legislation is written, the way that the regs have been, were written in hemp and are now written in adult use. There's a lot of opportunity here and, and the people who are involved in this space, especially where in my neck of the woods, our neck of the woods, Western New York, Rotch, Buffalo ra, Syracuse, there's a lot of really interesting people who are getting involved in taking a risk on it, and I wanted to be one of those people.
Karson Humiston: , you really have been, you've, you've made more introductions to angst to us. For folks that are getting into the New York cannabis space than anyone else. So it seems like you've really put your flag in, in, in the sand here, and you're working with a lot of the companies that seem like they could be ultimately be the winners.
Joe Schafer: Yeah. I mean, look, we're lucky and, and I think maybe this hearkens back to what we talked about at the beginning, Carson, it's, it's a tight-knit community up here, right? I mean, and, and I think in a lot of ways, and we look, we love New York City. New York City is going to be hopefully the cannabis capital of the world, and I look forward to working with operators down there.
[00:08:00] But the reason why in my, maybe not so expert or soon expert opinion is the fact that New York State doesn't get to accomplish what it wants to accomplish in cannabis without the ability to farm upstate and process upstate. Where, costs are a little bit lower. The culture is there in New York City, but the culture's also there.
In Western and central New York and, and, in the capital region it's New York's a really interesting state if you look at it. It's not just the city. And sometimes I have to explain to people the geography of where I live, that it's not five, it's not an hour from New York. I'm sure Carson, you've, you've had a deal with this before.
We're closer to Toronto. We're closer to Pittsburgh. We're closer to Cleveland, we're closer to Detroit. We're, we're closer in some ways, depending on how fast you drive to Columbus, Ohio. But yeah, I mean, look, it, it's, it's, it's a tight knit and a little bit smaller community up here, but I think everybody supports one another.
And it's really been, and this is what I, I've really enjoyed about it. It's been an education first focus because, the R T A is not, is not short. It's a 300 page document. The mo, the most recent regs that the state released, which we can talk about later, almost 300 pages again, [00:09:00] and unfortunately, or fortunately for me, folks have to, come to the lawyers to figure out what it says and what it means, and how to operate their businesses success.
Karson Humiston: So let's talk about that. A couple weeks ago, the new regs came out. Can you walk us through? I. , you and I were talking and you were about to go to the, the meeting, the actual meeting where they were walking everybody through the regs. I I, we, we'd love to hear from you if somebody's out there. That's, yeah.
Actually, let's just start from the beginning, what did you f what did you learn in that meeting? Where are we? What does the next year look like?
Joe Schafer: Yeah, it, it's a great question because, and, and Carson, I'm, I'm gonna rewind a little bit because I'll give like a really short state of the market in New York because
Karson Humiston: Yeah, that would be great. Let's
Joe Schafer: that's okay. Yeah. All right, so, so state of the market in New York, marijuana. Re here's a timeline because I was a history major and I kind of, my brain processes the dates pretty well.
M R T A, Mari Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which is our adult use legalization law in New York. [00:10:00] It's passed in March of 2021, but we don't make the necessary appointments to the cannabis control board. , right? The advisory board for all cannabis in the state, and then the Office of Cannabis Man, cannabis Management is regulatory agency until late August.
There's a six month delay that just so happened to correspond with Governor Cuomo resigning from office and Governor Hoel, who's from Buffalo getting put in as, as the then interim governor. She was just recently elected this year. Those appointments were dependent on appointments through. , the governor plus the legislature.
Again, not super important for the purpose of our conversation other than to to highlight the fact that there was a big delay to start. So then we get to 2022 and we don't really have anything to show
Karson Humiston: new.
Joe Schafer: it's, we don't do anything all that fast up here, but we get the train finally on the tracks and they realize, oh my gosh, we gotta get this thing rolling.
So as opposed to going through the full licensing structure, which is what the regs that you and I were just talking about lays out [00:11:00] instead, we do. New York basically constructed a conditional market, so there's only three types of licenses that have been awarded in New York, and they were all awarded in 2022.
There's the Conditional Cultivator license, the conditional processor license, and then the conditional dispensary license. the difference. There's big and important difference, and we can talk about this a little bit later, but the conditional cultivator and conditional processor license were only reserved for those individuals who were part of the hemp program.
So if you were a hemp farmer in New York and you grew, can, you grew cannabinoid hemp in two of four growing seasons. So from 18 to 20. You, you basically had first dibs on a license if you wanted it. Same thing with processing. If you held a good your processing license was in good standing with the state of New York and your GMP audit was good to go.
You g you check the box. So there's, I think about 200 farmers in the state, over 200 farmers, and there could be, I think it's up to 40. They haven't given out all the processor licenses yet, but it's [00:12:00] could be up to 40 processors initially in the state.
Karson Humiston: So there's 200, so there could be 200 conditional cultivators and. Conditional processors. How many of those have actually been awarded?
Joe Schafer: so, so, I'm sorry. So there's 200 awarded and 40 awarded right now,
Karson Humiston: Oh, they're, they're, they've been awarded at
Joe Schafer: yep. Yeah, my fault. The, the application window is closed for cultivation and process. . And then the application window is also closed for the most headline worthy of our licenses, which is, we call it a card license, C A U R D, conditional adult use retail dispensary.
And instead of just saying, Hey, you were a. A licensed hemp dispensary in the state. The state got the state focused on equity in rolling out those card licenses, and they add some very unique criteria. And I know it, it unique to New York State. I know that there's other states, that have equity programs, but here's what you needed to here was, here's how you had to be eligible to get this license.
You had [00:13:00] to. In ownership in a business for two years of at least 10%, and that business had to be profitable for those two years that you owned it. And also you needed to have a cannabis related conviction, either yourself or a close family member within the state of New York. That, and we can talk about the court case a touch later, but that the New York focused conviction as, or the New York State conviction versus, a conviction in Michigan or a federal conviction has become a, a, a topic of, of of major discussion in a, actually is the
Karson Humiston: and that paired with, and that paired with ownership of a profitable business for two years. I, I mean, I have to imagine there's not a ton of people that breach those criteria in New York.
Joe Schafer: Yeah, I mean, I'll be honest, Carson, our phone was ringing off the hook at the beginning for conditional cultivators and conditional processors, just people wanting to get the, the license application right when we were doing it. , we got so few call, I mean, look, ultimately there were 900 [00:14:00] applications submitted for a total of 150 spots.
So the, the state was able to pull a lot together. But I think because the eligibility criteria was so specific, a lot of people were like, you know what, we're gonna wait until the permanent regs come out and we're, we'll go after the regular dispensary licenses because I, this is just gonna take a lot of paperwork and, and I give the state credit for sticking to its guns.
I, it, it took a lot of heat, but at the same time, it is a true equity focused license and. We hope that those people are gonna be really successful who get this license and are able to operate under it.
Karson Humiston: In those 150 have been, now they're, they're, they're working on becoming operational.
Joe Schafer: So right now, and this is where the, the court case that I referred to kind of comes into the equation. So the, the day when, so I saw you guys at, at MJ Biz Con out in, in November in Vegas. And what happened?
Karson Humiston: like a, that feels like a century ago.
Joe Schafer: Oh no, it's, it's kind of wild. So we were kind of talking about all this and what, what was gonna happen.
So all, there's 14 regions of New York state that the state [00:15:00] breaks it up into, and when you applied for this card license, you had to rank your top five regions. So that's how an applicant goes through. You fill out all your applications, you rank your top five regions.
The issue was there was a gentleman who had a Michigan based conviction whose company wanted to apply for a New York license, and he said, you know what? Because I have a Michigan conviction, I'm not eligible. And therefore this card program is discriminating against citizens from other states, which is unconstitutional under you.
Ready for this? The dormant commerce clause of the US Constitution. Carson. I did three years of law school. I've been a lawyer for five years now. . I studied the dormant commerce clause for approximately two minutes when I read one paragraph about it in my Con Law textbook. Okay? I had to, we all, all of us lawyers in New York, we had to teach ourselves what this meant.
And it basically means that in business states can't discriminate against citizens of other states and their business if they want to come in. The irony of it is that, look, you, you know this better cuz you operate in all these markets. There's a reason why, we [00:16:00] don't have a safe banking act.
Everything in California has to say in California, everything. Colorado has. So we, the whole point of the card license was to help those individuals in New York who previously served time were arrested based on New York law that discriminated against them for having cannabis in some way, shape or form.
And now someone from Michigan is challenging that law and saying, Hey, this is unfair to me. And what does the court do? The court says, Hey, Michigan Company, you're right. This does violate the dormant commerce clause. The five regions that you've ranked on your application, which unfortunately for us, were Western York, Buffalo, finger Lakes, Rochester Central, New York, Syracuse, MidHudson, which is just south of Albany, and the big one for the state obviously is Brooklyn.
All five of those regions, because this person couldn't even be eligible to apply in those regions, the state is not allowed to issue card licenses.
Karson Humiston: Wow.
Joe Schafer: it took out, it took out 68 potential licenses. . There's a lot that will happen with the case[00:17:00]
Karson Humiston: it took out, so there was, I think you said there was like one 50 that they originally agreed on, and now 68 is just wiped out.
Joe Schafer: right. Well, for, for now.
Karson Humiston: For now, for now, for
Joe Schafer: kind of on ice. Yeah.
Karson Humiston: This is why I love this podcast because I didn't, I, it, there's so much news in the industry and this is something that I, I didn't, I, I didn't even realize was going on.
Joe Schafer: When it was happening in real time, we're following this and we're reading the arguments and it was, we didn't, a lot of us didn't even think that the, there, there were lawsuits are inevitable with these programs. Right. And then ultimately, unfortunately for the operators in those regions, including some of the applicants that we've worked, because, I'm in Buffalo, I'm in Western New York.
I don't know when my first dispensary is gonna open. I don't know. We've got our processors up and running, we've got our farmers up and running. But you know, they, they started to develop relationships with applicants who they thought were gonna be best served in this market. And then sure enough, well they have partnerships with people who don't even know if they're gonna get the license because the state can't even award the licenses in those regions.
Now what is interesting is [00:18:00] the state filed a motion to basically The legal term that we use is, it's an injunction. So the state is enjoined from giving licenses in those five regions. The state filed papers the day after they issued the first 36 license. So 36 licenses have been given. They, this was like two days after MJ Bisk.
So they they released the, , they they released the regs and they gave out 36 licenses in those other regions. The, so it was the Tuesday after MJ biz. And basically saying, . , we'll try to fix that injunction. We're gonna work through the, through the process.
We think our arguments are correct. The day after the meeting, they file a motion to streamline the injunction or modify it, meaning, hey, we only gave our dispensary licenses to those applicants in their first ranked region. We got 900 applications across the board. We've only gave those top 36 and only intend to give the other one 50 minus 36.
Sorry, I can't do that math on the. In, [00:19:00] in top ranked regions. So give us back the other four, like the number 2, 3, 4, and five ranked regions and o you can, you can enjoin the number one ranked region, which, sorry, Rochester is Finger Lakes, but it would give us back Buffalo, Syracuse, MidHudson, and then obviously with the state and a lot of people's biggest interest gives you, gives you back Brooklyn.
Karson Humiston: Wow. All right, so, so, so that was a good walkthrough on the timeline leading up to. the meeting with the go forward plan. So I'd love to hear from you kind of now, now where we go from here.
Joe Schafer: Right. So yeah, sorry. I, and thanks every, if you're still listening to the podcast at this point, nice
Karson Humiston: they are
Joe Schafer: I hope, I hope that, that, I hope I didn't lose people on getting into the the intricacies of,
Karson Humiston: no, it's super interesting and, and we had my friend Ashley from 0.7 group on earlier in the summer, and I mean, even things since then. Changed. She's in, she's in Manhattan. She's working on competitive license applications. She's been working on a [00:20:00] lot in New York and other places. And even since that podcast, earlier this year till now, so much has changed and I think people really appreciate getting the walkthrough.
So I'm sure that part of the podcast will be shared quite a bit, but now here we are. It's the week after MJ Biz, the news drops, the regs for. Unconditional licenses come out. Walk us through what that process is, is gonna look like and what we know so far.
Joe Schafer: Right, so outside of the injunction, those regs are probably the most exciting time, take not withstanding the injunction is the better way I should say it. These regs are what we've been waiting for the amount of times. Clients, potential clients, people that we give seminars to people.
When we get interviewed, well, what about this? What about that? Our refrain was constantly, we gotta wait till the regs come out. Regs finally came out. The regs are, are very detailed. It seems like they treat everything, they go through a 60 day public comment period. , which ends in the second week of February.
So anybody, Carson, if you have an issue with it or you there's something that you [00:21:00] want to do or banks as a company wants to comment on, I encourage you and I encourage all of our listeners to read those regs or read a portion of the regs that, and this is the most important part, not all the regs apply to everybody.
If you want to be a cultivator and you don't like something in the way that they're, treating craft cultivators versus large scale cultivators versus medium scale, and you don't like the canopy or the lights or the indoor outdoor. let the state know they've specifically asked for it. They're legally obligated to do it, but I give OCM a lot of credit.
They actually put on their slide when they release the regs, we want to hear from you, tell us what we got wrong. So we're in that process
Karson Humiston: Yeah, we'll, we'll throw the, we'll throw a link to, we'll throw a link to the regs in the show notes and all of our listeners, we'll, we'll, we'll put it out on social. Everybody should read the regs, and if you. have comments between now and February 2nd. Sounds like the moment to to speak up, but if you don't wanna read the regs, Joe's gonna give us the two logged in.
Joe Schafer: Yeah. Gi. Yeah, gimme, which is probably gonna be the theme of this podcast. Umt. Yeah. Tl. T L D L. But yeah, [00:22:00] so 60 days. 60 days that they have to respond to all the public comments. Another 45 days for amendment. And then we hopefully roll out license applications. Realistic if you do the math, the earliest we may see those is may re, may, like late May, but my guess.
We're gonna see these applications go live end of June, so probably end of q2, early q3, and then you're gonna be able to apply for your cultivator license and all the tiers. I think there's seven or eight tiers of cultivator license from your small craft grower at 5,000 square feet to your large grower at, I think it's a hundred thousand square feet in acreage.
I could be wrong. I'm sorry if, if I am, I, it's, there's, there's a lot of regs. There's a
Karson Humiston: But I think the key takeaway here is like, look, at some point in the end of q2, there will be an opportunity if you did not qualify for a conditional license to go and apply, which is pretty amazing. , it's now 2023.
Joe Schafer: Yeah. And, and I think that there's been a lot of news about the conditional market because it's all we've had, [00:23:00] but I, I continue to say this to folks. The conditional market is a drop in the bucket compared to all the licenses that we're gonna get. I mean, I, I, we've heard upwards. A thousand to 2000 grower licenses.
A hundred, 200, maybe 300 processor license. And I could be wrong. This is all speculation. And then up to maybe, a thousand to 1500 dispensaries. Again, these numbers could be inflated. The state, there are no license caps in New York State, unlike other states. So it's if you have a right business plan and it, it corresponds to a population that's gonna need it, get after it.
Get your business plan ready. I think Ashley talk, I've heard Ashley talk about this. She does a great job and she did a great job on the last. On, on the podcast you did with you on New York back in the summertime, but like we've been telling people since March of 2021, like start to start to get ready.
Like, don't build this plane while it's flying, while we're writing the application, because it makes everybody's job harder. And you have people who've been focusing on this, developing business plans, talking security, talking staffing, figuring out what employees they need. I mean, we've got so many, I mean, Carson, you can speak to this better than I can, but.
We have New York operators who are ramping up and have, have had [00:24:00] employees hired for the past year and a half, right? So it's, let's, let's get going. Like, don't, don't, don't sit on your hands.
Karson Humiston: and that's, I mean, that's so exciting. A thousand, potentially a thousand to 2000 cultivation licenses, 300 price processors, a thousand to 1500 retailers. I mean, that is tens of thousands of jobs that are gonna go live. So just kind of working backwards into it, let's assume q2, and again, we're speculating here, but if anyone can make a good speculation, you've been living and breathing this so q2, we. apply for the licenses. Then how long do you think it would take for like the state to review and actually issue the licenses based on what you've seen previously?
Joe Schafer: Yeah, I think it really, Carson, I think this is, this is an oppor, or this is a question I've thought about a lot because I thought, put myself in the shoes of OCM and said, all right, we can't modify this in. . We don't have any dispensaries in Buffalo, which is our second biggest city, Rochester, Syracuse, three of [00:25:00] the biggest cities in, in, the Western and central New York regions.
I'm gonna prioritize trying to get dispensary licenses given in those, in those regions, because people are chomping at the bit. I mean, the hope is that, know, there's going to be more of the card licenses given out, but you know, the thought. And I don't know how the state's gonna do this. This is just my speculation, but where there is need is really where I think they might end up prioritizing.
I mean, they could prioritize the supply chain as they have and start with, nursery and cultivation and go to processing and, and distro and, then move on to the retail side of things, but, all things considered based on the challenges that the market has faced and the state has faced from especially this legal challenge.
You might, it, I wouldn't be surprised to see dispensary licenses specific in Western New York tubes, Western New York, central New York locations, MidHudson and Brooklyn being prioritized because of a gap that the state needs to fill unless they're able to be successful, successful in getting this case kicked.
And that's just one example, but we're gonna need, there's not a. Product being grown in the state with only 200 farmers and, [00:26:00] and a one acre cap on what they can grow. I think cultivation licenses are going to
Karson Humiston: right. That's another thing we didn't really touch on, like these are pretty small farms right now where the cannabis is being grown, so.
Joe Schafer: Yeah.
Karson Humiston: So it's, there's definitely a need for it. So, so hopefully, I mean, do you, do you think there could be a world where there's a less than six month turnaround time from application to licenses being awarded?
Joe Schafer: Yeah. I mean, I, I'm trying to think if, just based on our, our experience in conditional, I mean, I think it was about in the quickest if you were able to get your application in the early, like the early window, I think they were, they could have been awarded within. , I don't know, two months, two to three months.
So yeah, I think that six months could, in some circumstances could be long , I guess the qualifiers, there were only so many cultivation licenses that were coming in, conditional cultivation, conditional processing licenses that were coming in. But if you were one of the first ones to apply in those circumstances, you were awarded and you got to get up and running [00:27:00] pretty quickly thereafter.
So, the state really wants to build a successful industry. And like you said, Carson, the, the, the clock's been ticking for a long time. You didn't say it. I'm paraphrasing, but
Karson Humiston: has been ticking. I'm, I'm saying it. I mean, look, I, I, I think like, it's really exciting and I'm, I'm, I'm like, a, as you're speaking, I have all these thoughts going on in my mind about just all the jobs that are gonna be created and like, now's the moment, right? If in, I think if you own an ancillary business that you plan on, service, the New York market.
It seems like now's the moment to start getting in and start paying attention. And if you're an operator that wants to win one of these many licenses, like getting your business plan together, now partnering up with someone like Joe, getting your business plan together and getting ready so that you can get your application in on that first window.
I mean, it sounds like now's the moment to really begin ramping and, and somewhat the moment that we've all been waiting for. I mean, there I could see a world. This next year, this time you can drive down the street in Orchard Park or somewhere in, in, in, in Buffalo and go to an amazing dispensary. I mean, 12 months.
We'll be here before we know it.
Joe Schafer: It will. And the hope is that there's a dispensary right near the new [00:28:00] stadium down in Orchard Park. You can hit that on your way in your, your, your bills tailgate., not that the products or the plant aren't necessarily there already, but you know, you have, New York State Legal third party tested cannabis.
Maybe there's a Josh Allen strain, who knows? You
Karson Humiston: I think we need a Josh Allens train for sure.
Joe Schafer: I, I think, maybe Carson, I, I'm sure you have a few people who might be able to, to work with us on that. If you wanna talk offline and maybe work on that together, I'd be more than happy to see if we could partner with Josh
Karson Humiston: I think we gotta, I think that's definitely something we gotta talk about offline. Switching gears a little bit, I mean, obviously now you've been working in the space for a couple years. You've been instrumental in getting the New York program going. I think you understand the New York regs better than anyone.
Anytime I have a question. Joe's on my speed dial at this point. So, so what have you, what has been the most interesting in going through this? Right. Seeing an industry built from nothing or, legally nothing to to to, to where it is today and where you see it going. What, what's been the biggest thing that you've learned?
Joe Schafer: the biggest thing that I've learned thus far, and look, [00:29:00] I do a, some, some work in the alcoholic beverage space as well, and that's where it's, it's served me well because the cannabis law and, and how it's going to be regulated in the state, at least initially, is based on the New York's ABC law, alcoholic Beverage Control Law.
the ABC law does not, is not flexible. The state , it sticks to its guns. . What I'm most excited for in, in the coming months, or to see what the state does with social equity applicants and how it, really focuses on its social equity program.
Because , , the mrta there are two goals of it. One, tax revenue for the state of New York. , right? The wrongs that were committed against folks for, cannabis prohibition over all the years, stop and frisk in New York City is one example, right? The state has a lot of a lot in its arsenal.
And I, that's something that I'm really looking forward to seeing. We've been trying to incorporate it, but right now we just, we don't necessarily know what we're aiming at. We have goals, but right now it's like the state doesn't want to get in anyone's way by saying, Hey, you should do that.
you're an entrepreneur, [00:30:00] Carson, your ideas are better than the state's ideas, and it's, there's gonna be a lot as we discuss with the amount of licenses, there's gonna be a ton of people coming in with a ton of social equity plans, and sure, you can borrow from somebody. But I think in a lot of ways, new Yorkers, we think we're the best in a lot of ways.
Or Buffalo. We're so proud of who we are. We think we can do it the best too. And it's, we, the state doesn't want to get in the way of that. So that's the thing I'm most excited for in the, in the coming years. The thing that I've learned is I've been doing a lot of cleanup. I, I, I enjoy working with my clients and I think that, because everything is so new and there isn't a lot of structure, , we don't know what we're aiming at and , when we have a little bit more structure, I think it serves everyone well.
So, I know this sounds self-serving, but the, earlier you talked to one of us, one of us being a lawyer, I know we kind of we're like vampires sometimes and people are scared of us, but. , it can be very helpful early on, and it, the small costs that you pay up front could save you big time in the long run.
And I, I, I
Karson Humiston: also it's a lot, , the applications are not, they're no joke. I was, we're, we're talking about Ashley. Ashley and I, at one point in time, we were sharing an office and like [00:31:00] she's working on these applications and they're the size of a phone book. I, I couldn't believe how it, it's not like starting another business that, that maybe entrepreneurs have started in the past and.
I cannot imagine going at an application alone without a lawyer like Joe or a consultant. I mean, you really, and starting early. Yeah, I definitely think that, and anyone that we've seen being successful, the number one thing is finding the right lawyer and consultants to partner up with.
And, Joe, you guys have been successful so far, so it seems like people are gonna keep coming.
Joe Schafer: I hope so. Carson, I don't know. Hope, maybe, maybe all this talk about the bills and, and we've got, division rivals. I, I'm sure the Jets and Giants fans and, and my New York state operators might not be thrilled to hear this podcast, but right now you and I only know that there's one New York team and lo looking forward to seeing what, what cannabis brings in in 23 and know, all the great opportunities, the great businesses that we're creating.
And then, hopefully there's a Bill Super Bowl in there.
Karson Humiston: Absolutely. Well look, this has been a very awesome 30 minutes. We're just about running out of time. So Joe, thanks so much for coming on, Joe. Where, where can [00:32:00] people get in touch?
Joe Schafer: Oh man. Yeah, I mean, look, email's the easiest way, check out the Lips Mathias website and search Joe Schaffer. And you'll see my, my goofy face on there. But I am on Instagram and I am public now, which is pretty cool. So, j o Schaffer, s c h a f e. And then I'm honestly, I'm, I'm most active on LinkedIn.
If you just search my name, that's where I'm, I'm, I've, I've actually been criticized by my wife for, for spamming a lot of people's pages with my, up to the potentially minute cannabis updates. And look, I just. LinkedIn's such an interesting place. I didn't expect it to take off Carson. I know you're super active on there as well, but like, it seems like the place, and I think I just saw an article written about how like LinkedIn is the place for the can for cannabis industry operators to talk and interact and, and wrestle with the business and all the different states.
So, that's a great place. Again, touch to me as well.
Karson Humiston: It's a great, it's been a great tool and , great reach there. And then I would encourage you all follow along on Joe's Instagram. It's pretty entertaining, so you throw in some humor in there as well, which I think we can all. Use a little bit of a little bit of lightness in [00:33:00] our days in the cannabis industry.
So everybody, thank you so much for tuning in to another great episode on season two of The Proud to Work in Cannabis Podcast, and we'll be right back here next week. Thanks everybody.