On Friday, July 31, 2015, the New York State Health Department announced the five organizations that will be allowed to grow and sell medical marijuana in the state. Among them is Etain, LLC, which will open a manufacturing facility in Warren County and dispensaries in Albany, Ulster, Westchester and Onondaga counties. CEO Amy Peckham is the wife of Peckham Industries CEO John Peckham. Daughters Hillary Peckham and Keely Peckham are executives in the 92 percent woman-owned business.
“We are incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to provide medicine to patients who need it,” Hillary Peckham told MJINews.
But New York requires licensees to open within 180 days, which leaves very little time for a victory lap. The company already has construction permits approved for the growing and manufacturing facility. Construction at the site will cost between $4 million and $5 million, and the location will employ 25 to 30 people. Peckham estimated that 90 days would be needed to produce the first crop.
What made for a successful application? Jazmin Hupp, co-founder of Women Grow, suggested to MJINews that one reason Etain had been successful in getting one of the most coveted licenses in the industry was that they had leveraged a great network. “That is why we focus on person-to-person connection and networking for Women Grow,” she said. “We know that this industry is extremely local and that success depends on your ability to leverage your network.” She cited, in particular, Etain’s affiliation with the Bhang Corporation as their extraction partner.
“For women, it’s not about going it alone. This isn’t about having to learn it all or do it all yourself. This is about building your community around you and putting in the skill sets you need to make your organization successful.”
Kris Krane, President of 4Front Ventures, also saw a common theme in solid industry affiliations, as well as success in winning licenses in other states. “Having good industry talent on your team is a smart way to approach it,” he said.
Many have suggested the New York application process was flawed because so few licenses were available and because the applicant pool ended up being far smaller than originally anticipated because of the compressed period of time during which applications had to be completed.
“There are going to be some real challenges for businesses, and more importantly, there are going to be some real challenges for patients,” Krane said to MJINews. “There just aren’t enough providers.” He sees a second round of applications as inevitable at some point in the future.
For that second round, or for license contests in other states, two lessons stand out.
The first, of course, is to put together a team of industry experts. As the industry matures, those experts will increasingly have specific cannabis experience.
The second may be that the application process may be becoming more similar in different states, a case of convergent evolution, as it were. Prospective applicants can begin to assemble materials before the applications become available, and the expertise developed in one contest may prove to be very useful in another.