Cannabis regulators in New York on Thursday issued 50 additional licenses to operate an adult-use marijuana business in the state, growing the number to 215 licenses awarded since the marketplace went into effect. 

The new licenses were announced as a social equity and economic plan, a move meant to expand the development of the legal cannabis market in New York. 

The moves come as New York officials more broadly have announced measures meant to aid legal cannabis sales as the sector has struggled to expand over the last several months.

A legal challenge to the provision that licenses be awarded to people affected by prior marijuana laws has slowed the growth of cannabis businesses in parts of the state. Illegal cannabis sales, meanwhile, are being cracked down on by state regulators with higher fines and the ability to shutter stores selling without a license. 

Cannabis licenses, meanwhile, are being approved on an ongoing basis for an industry projected to generate more than $2 billion for the state's economy. 

“The approval of 50 additional CAURD provisional licenses by the Cannabis Control Board represents a major stride toward realizing our vision of an equitable cannabis industry. These licenses provide a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to participate in the legal market, help us shape and develop retail as well as spur innovation and diversity in New York's cannabis supply chain," said Tremaine Wright, the chair of the Cannabis Control Board.

State lawmakers are also assessing how cannabis businesses have struggled with being cash-only enterprises given federal regulations.