Governor Hochul announced recently that people with past cannabis convictions will receive the first round of marijuana sales licenses in New York State. New Yorkers with past cannabis-related criminal offenses will be the first to sell marijuana grown by New York farmers. Gov. Hochul describes the move as a way for the state to make amends for past discriminatory cannabis laws,

New York State is making history, launching a first-of-its-kind approach to the cannabis industry that takes a major step forward in righting the wrongs of the past. The regulations advanced by the Cannabis Control Board today will prioritize local farmers and entrepreneurs, creating jobs and opportunity for communities that have been left out and left behind. I'm proud New York will be a national model for the safe, equitable and inclusive industry we are now building.

The program is called the Seeding Opportunity Initiative. In addition to having been convicted of a marijuana charge, people who take advantage of the initiative also must have a business background. The portal for New York farmers to apply for grow licenses began yesterday, March 15.

The entrepreneurs with past convictions, who will receive the first round of licenses, will be allowed to set up their businesses in WNY. Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said,

Our state’s Cannabis Law sets a high goal for creating an equitable industry that puts New Yorkers first. The Seeding Opportunity Initiative puts us on a path for achieving that goal and hopefully models a way forward for reaching those goals while building a stable market. I am thankful for the support of Governor Hochul and the Legislature, which made it possible for us to get this initiative off the ground quickly, establish a supply chain from our farmers to equity, retailers, and generate the resources to help revitalize communities that were harmed by the disproportionate enforcement of cannabis prohibition.

These WNY towns and villages have opted into permitting marijuana dispensaries, on-site consumption lounges or both.

1. Amherst (Town) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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2. Angola (Village) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), No (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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3. Blasdell (Village) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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4. Boston (Town) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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5. Buffalo (City) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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6. Cheektowaga (Town) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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7. Concord (Town) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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8. Depew (Village) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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9. East Aurora (Village) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), No (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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10. Eden (Town) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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11. Evans (Town) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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12. Farnham (Village) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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13. Grand Island (Town) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), No (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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14. Hamburg (Town) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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15. Kenmore (Village) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), No (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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16. Lackawanna (City) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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17. Lancaster (Village) Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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18. North Collins (Village) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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19. Orchard Park (Town) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), No (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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20. Sloan (Village) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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21. Springville (Village) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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22. Tonawanda (City) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), Yes (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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23. Tonawanda (Town) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), No (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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24. West Seneca (Town) - Yes (Allow Dispensaries), No (Allow Onsite Consumption)

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