ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The number of licenses for legal marijuana dispensaries in New York will double from 150 to 300, state officials announced on Thursday.

The expansion, announced by the Cannabis Control Board and the Office of Cannabis Management, aims to further New York State’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which enables people who were formerly incarcerated or negatively impacted by old marijuana laws to operate dispensaries.

The New York State Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act of 2021, which legalized adult use of marijuana in the state, seeks to build an equitable market in an effort to overcome the impacts of unequal enforcement of cannabis prohibition and prioritize licenses for those with cannabis convictions or their close family members. The OCM says they’ve received about 900 applications for CAURD licenses.

Chart via OCM

“With this expansion, more entrepreneurs will be able to participate in the first wave of this industry, allowing them to capitalize on the growing demand for cannabis products,” said Tremaine Wright, chair of the Cannabis Control Board. “As more businesses enter this market, the innovation and competition will increase, leading to better quality experiences for consumers. The expansion of New York’s cannabis market will benefit everyone involved in this exciting industry.”