New York Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License Fortune Telling: Insights Gleaned from DASNY’s RFP

By Michelle Bodian, Brandon Kurtzman

Jun 23, 2022

The Dormitory Authority State of New York’s (DASNY) $200 million social equity program hopes to develop cannabis conditional adult-use retail dispensaries (CAURD) for social equity licensees. As part of this goal, DASNY released two requests for proposals (RFP). The $50 million is anticipated to be recouped in licensing fees and revenue from the adult-use industry and up to $150 million from the private sector. These funds will be used to:

  •  Identify suitable locations for dispensaries

  • Acquire or lease the space for the dispensaries

  • Design and construct the space to suit business needs

  • Fit locations with furniture and other equipment

The RFP for “Design-Build Services for Retail Cannabis Dispensaries” released on May 13, 2022 paints a picture of what’s to come in New York. 

As a quick recap, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has the authority to create and regulate a social equity program (Social Equity Fund Program) “to provide persons harmed by the disproportionate enforcement of the cannabis laws with licenses for the legal sale of cannabis through conditional adult-use retail cannabis dispensaries in New York State.” DASNY is seeking proposals from qualified Design-Build teams to provide design, construction, and other services needed to renovate existing spaces for CAURD facilities to be operated by social equity licensees. 

With that background out of the way, let’s look at the highlights from the RFP.

What Does New York Expect?

Requirements for Number and Size of Dispensaries, Timeline

  • Build out an estimated 150 retail spaces

  • 150 dispensaries will be built across the state

    • 85 in the NYC metropolitan area, including Long Island and Westchester

    • 20-25 in Western New York

    • 15-20 in the Hudson Valley/Capital District region

    • 5 -10 in the North Country

    • 5-10 in the Southern Tier region

  • The dispensaries will range in size from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet

  • All dispensaries will be completed within two years of contract execution

  • The specific layout and design features for each facility will not involve input from CAURD licensees

Facility Design

  • Each facility and location will be designed specifically to its use, needs and site-specific requirements. Generally speaking, the facilities will have spaces for:
  • Sales areas

    • Reception/check-in

    • Sales floor and display area

    • Sales counter

    • 5-10 point of sale areas

  • Back of house

    • Product receivables area

    • Cannabis processing workroom

    • Vault and/or secure storeroom

    • Quarantine/secure waste storeroom

    • Office space and general storage

    • Restrooms and janitors closet

    • Electrical/Data/Security Closet

    • Mechanical room

    • Breakroom

Master Security Plan

  • The facilities must have a master security plan, which includes:
    • Alarms (and backup alarm)

    • Motion detectors

    • Video cameras with 24-hour recording

    • Duress/panic/holdup alarm at sales counter and glass break sensors

    • Automatic Voice Dialer or Digital Dialer

    • Failure notification system

    • Ability to remain operational during a power outage and maintain all security equipment

    • Illuminating the perimeter around the facility

    • Doors with pinless hinges

    • Secure network access

Additional Expectations for Facilities

  • A cannabis storage vault

  • Windows with exterior glazing systems to meet NYS/NYC Energy Conservation Construction Codes, and privacy screens, roll-down security gates, and use of ballistic glass may be required

  • Odor mitigation methods

  • Backup system to provide continuous power

  • Parking

  • Exterior lighting

  • Building signage

  • Fire protection systems

  • HVAC

  • Network infrastructure

  • Point of sale system/equipment

Branding Wall

  • The facility will have one “branding wall,” which is a dedicated wall space in a prominent interior location to incorporate the tenant’s brand

While we don’t yet have final regulations for the CAURD licenses, the state plans to issue the RFP notice of tentative selection on July 11, 2022.

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