Hundreds attended the Hampton Cannabis Expo during the summer of...

Hundreds attended the Hampton Cannabis Expo during the summer of 2021. Credit: Barbara Lassen

The annual Hampton Cannabis Expo is expected to draw a crowd this weekend, in part because Long Islanders can see a state-sanctioned path for getting the recreational industry off the ground by 2023. 

Now in its fifth year, the Hampton Cannabis Expo will draw entrepreneurs and investors interested in the marijuana industry, said Neil Kaufman, whose Hauppauge law firm handles corporate cannabis transactions across the nation and is one of the event's sponsors. 

The expo attracted more than 600 people last year, but organizers are planning for a bigger crowd now that COVID-19 is less of a health threat for big gatherings and the state has started rolling out a framework for licensing recreational marijuana firms, Kaufman said. 

"We're expecting attendance to be through the roof. It wouldn't surprise me if there were over 1,000 people there," Kaufman said. "This is an ideal time and place to gather together a huge portion of the industry — and people that hope to be in the industry — to try to accelerate the development of the cannabis industry in New York State, and on Long Island in particular.” 

Regulators have granted 10 "conditional" or temporary cultivation licenses to farmers based on Long Island, according to the Office of Cannabis Management, which creates policies for medical and recreational marijuana.

So far, 15 firms across the state have been granted conditional processing licenses that will allow them to transform the crop into edibles, tinctures and other products, OCM said. The office will soon issue credentials to firms that pick up samples of cannabis for testing and for labs that analyze products created for recreational consumers, OCM said.

Next Thursday, Aug. 25, the state plans to open applications for conditional retail licenses online, at https://www.businessexpress.ny.gov. The first batch of recreational credentials will be reserved for New York business owners who were charged with a cannabis-related offense, or who had relatives charged with such an offense. Nonprofits focused on workforce development may also be eligible. 

The East Hampton expo event will run from 1 to 8 p.m. this Saturday and include panels on lending, accounting, insurance and investment. Tremaine Wright, chair of the state board that approves cannabis policy, will give the keynote address, said Gary Bierfriend, a lawyer and businessman who runs the expo. The Shinnecock Nation will discuss plans for its forthcoming dispensary, Little Beach Harvest, in Southampton. 

For more information on the expo, visit https://canxpo.com/.

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