Medical and Adult-use marijuana is now legal in New York. New York legalized adult-use marijuana on March 31, 2021 through the passing of Senate Bill S854A, allowing for marijuana possession and consumption for individuals 21 years and older.
Access to marijuana will be through state licensed marijuana businesses – learn more about how to get a New York cannabis business license or schedule a complimentary consultation with our licensing team, below.
When To Apply
October 4, 2023
TYPES OF NEW YORK CANNABIS BUSINESSES
New York Medical Cannabis Registered Organization – can grow medical cannabis plants; extract, process and produce medical cannabis products; and dispense to registered patients. There is a limit of ten (10) business licenses allowed for New York Medical Cannabis Registered Organization within the state. Each licensee is allowed to operate up to four (4) stand-alone dispensaries. Registered Organizations will be allowed to open four (4) additional adult-use retail facilities, bringing their total to 8 retail locations.
Adult-use Cultivator: An adult-use cultivator’s license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, distribution, cultivation, and sale of cannabis to licensed processors. Cultivation shall include, but not be limited to, the agricultural production practices of planting, growing, cloning, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, and trimming of cannabis. Options for the size of the cultivation canopy and type of cultivation include:
- Indoor, Mixed-light, or Outdoor Cultivator Cultivation Tiers: A cultivator that is authorized to cultivate indoor, mixed-light, or outdoors is authorized to cultivate cannabis in one (1) of the following canopy tiers:
- Tier 5. Greater than 50,000 square feet and up to but not exceeding 100,000 square feet.
- Tier 4. Greater than 25,000 square feet and up to but not exceeding 50,000 square feet;
- Tier 3. Greater than 12,500 square feet and up to but not exceeding 25,000 square feet;
- Tier 2. Greater than 5,000 square feet and up to but not exceeding 12,500 square feet;
- Tier 1. Up to, but not exceeding 5,000 square feet.
- Combination Cultivator Cultivation Tiers: A cultivator is authorized to cultivate outdoors with mixed light in one (1) of the following canopy tiers:
- Tier 5 Combination Cultivator. Greater than 50,000 square feet and up to but not exceeding 100,000 square feet of outdoor; and greater than 15,000 square feet and up to but not exceeding 30,000 square feet of mixed light.
- Tier 4 Combination Cultivator. Greater than 25,000 square feet and up to but not exceeding 50,000 square feet of outdoor; and greater than 12,500 square feet and up to but not exceeding 15,000 square feet of mixed light;
- Tier 3 Combination Cultivator. Greater than 12,500 square feet and up to but not exceeding 25,000 square feet of outdoor; and greater than 6,250 square feet and up to but not exceeding 12,500 square feet of mixed light;
- Tier 2 Combination Cultivator. Greater than 5,000 square feet, and up to but not exceeding 12,500 square feet of outdoor; and greater than 2,500 square feet and up to but not exceeding 6,250 square feet of mixed light;
- Tier 1 Combination Cultivator. Up to but not exceeding 5,000 square feet of outdoor; and up to but not exceeding 2,500 square feet of mixed light.
Nursery: A nursery license shall authorize the production, sale and distribution of clones, immature plants, seeds, and other agricultural products used specifically for the planting, propagation, and cultivation of cannabis by licensed adult-use cultivators, cooperatives, microbusinesses, or registered organizations. Options for the size and type of nursery area include:· Nursery Outdoor: for an outdoor nursery area with a maximum area of 100,000 square feet;
- Nursery Mixed-Light: for a mixed light nursery area with a maximum area of 10,000 square feet
- Nursery Indoor: for an indoor nursery area with a maximum area of 10,000 square feet.
Adult-use Processor: A processor’s license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, processing, and sale of cannabis from adult-use cultivators to licensed processors or distributors. Processing shall include, but not be limited to, blending, extracting, infusing, packaging, labeling, branding and otherwise making or preparing cannabis products. Processing shall not include the cultivation of cannabis.
Adult-use Retail Dispensary: A retail dispensary license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, sale, and delivery of cannabis-to-cannabis consumers. A limited retail consumption facility shall be a type of consumption facility that is that is a part of the licensed premises of the associated dispensary.
Microbusiness: A microbusiness license shall authorize the limited cultivation, processing, distribution, delivery, and dispensing of their own adult-use cannabis and cannabis products.
- Microbusiness cultivation activities are limited to one of the following tiers:
- Indoor canopy not to exceed 3,500 square feet;
- Mixed light canopy not to exceed 5,000 square feet;
- Outdoor canopy not to exceed 10,000 square feet;
- Combination canopy not to exceed outdoor canopy of 5,000 square feet and mixed-light canopy of 2,500 square feet.
- Microbusiness processing activities are limited to purchase up to 500 pounds of cannabis, or the extract equivalent, per calendar year.
- Microbusiness retail operations are limited to only selling their own cannabis products to consumers.
Adult-use Distributor: A distributor’s license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, distribution, and sale of cannabis from a licensed adult-use cultivator, processor, adult-use cooperative, microbusiness, or registered organization to sell adult-use cannabis to licensed retail dispensaries and on-site consumption sites.
Delivery: A delivery license shall authorize the delivery of cannabis and cannabis products to consumers by licensees independent of another adult-use cannabis license.
Adult-use Cooperative: A cooperative license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, cultivation, processing, distribution, and sale of cannabis to licensed distributors, on-site consumption sites, registered organization and/or retail dispensaries, but not directly to cannabis consumers. A cooperative shall be organized pursuant to New York State Cooperative Corporation Law.
The state adopted final regulations on Sept 12, 2023 and announced they will be accepting applications for Cultivators, Processors, Distributors, Microbusinesses, and Retail Dispensary Licenses starting October 4, 2023. The application will remain open for 60 days and application fee is set at $1,000 non-refundable. Applications for additional license types will follow soon after.
A newly formed regulatory agency will determine the number of licenses for each license type based on market demand.
In August of 2022, the state accepted applications to issue 150 CAURD Licenses. The licenses are set to be issued mid November.
Social Equity Program
The regulatory agency created and implemented a social and economic equity plan to actively promote applicants from communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, and promote racial, ethnic, and gender diversity when issuing licenses for adult-use cannabis related activities.
Social and Economic Equity Applicants (“SEE”) include:
- individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition
- minority-owned businesses
- women-owned businesses
- minority and women-owned businesses
- distressed farmers
- service-disabled veterans
SEE Applicants will need to become SEE certified to qualify and will receive a 50% reduction in application ($500) and licensing fees, and be provided access to technical training and business development.
HOW TO START A MARIJUANA BUSINESS IN NEW YORK
To obtain a marijuana business license in New York, you will be required to submit an application. As part of the application, some of the plans you will need to include the following:
- Security Plan
- Environmental Impact Plan
- Quality Control and Quality Assurance Plan
- Business History Plan
- Financial Plan
- Community Benefits Plan
- Research Plan
- Cultivation, Manufacturing and/or Dispensing Plan
- Labor Compliance Plan
- Staffing and Training Plan
Schedule for a complimentary 15-min consult with our licensing/application team to learn more about how we may be able to assist you.
Interested in a DIY solution? View our Cannabis Business Templates!
NEW YORK MARIJUANA TIMELINE
2014 – New York legalized medical cannabis
2015 – New York licensing period for cannabis businesses
2016 – First New York cannabis businesses opened, and medical cannabis sales began
Jan 2021 – Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act reintroduced
March 31, 2021 – New York Legalizes Adult-Use Marijuana
April 1, 2021 – Adult-Use Marijuana bill goes into effect.
Dec 2021 – Local municipalities have until Dec 2021 to opt-out of the marijuana program (preventing marijuana businesses within their local jurisdiction).
April 2022 – OCM began issuing conditional cultivation licenses.
August 2022 – OCM began issuing conditional processing licenses. Application portal for CAURD Licenses Opens.
November 21, 2022 – First set of accepted CAURD Licenses issued.
September 12, 2023 – Final Regulations Adopted
October 4, 2023 – Application window opens for Cultivator, Processor, Microbusiness, Distributor, and Retail Licenses for 60 days.
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