New York State is going all in on legal recreational marijuana dispensaries, and plans to double the number of dispensary licenses given out in the first round.

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According to a report by Jennifer Peltz of the Associated Press, New York State will double the number of dispensary licenses given out in the first round from 150 licenses to 300 licenses. New York made the decision after receiving 900 applications for 150 licenses.

Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said "With this expansion, more entrepreneurs will be able to participate in the first wave of this industry."

As of now, there are only four legal marijuana dispensaries open in New York State. Three of them are located in New York City, and the first upstate New York dispensary opened in recent weeks in downtown Binghamton. The Binghamton shop, called "Just Breathe" and located on Court Street, opened for business in early February.

Binghamton Cannabis Dispensary
James Kelly/WNBF
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New York reserved the first 150 licenses for nonprofits and people with a personal or family history of marijuana conviction. The additional 150 licenses will also be part of the first round of licenses, and will be available to other nonprofits and people with a personal or family history marijuana conviction.

The restrictions on who can receive a license for a legal marijuana shop has caused some controversy, with a legal ruling delaying the process for 40% of the already proposed license allocations in Brooklyn, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the mid-Hudson region and Western New York. The legalization of marijuana has also led to the rise in unlicensed marijuana shops around the state.

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