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
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.
- The board may establish regulations allowing licensed adult-use cultivators to perform certain types of minimal processing without the need for an adult-use processor license.
- A person holding an adult-use cultivator’s license may apply for, and obtain, one processor’s license and one distributor’s license solely for the distribution of their own products.
- A person holding an adult-use cultivator’s license may not also hold a retail dispensary license.
- No person may have a direct or indirect financial or controlling interest in more than one adult-use cultivator license, provided that one adult-use cultivator license may authorize adult-use cultivation in more than one location.
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.
- A person or entity holding an adult-use cultivator’s license may apply for, and obtain, one nursery license to sell directly to other cultivators, cooperatives, microbusinesses, or registered organizations.
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.
- A person holding an adult-use processor’s license may apply for, and obtain, one distributor’s license solely for the distribution of their own products.
- No processor shall be engaged in any other business on the premises to be licensed; except that a person issued an adult-use cannabis cultivator, processor, and/or distributor license may hold and operate all issued licenses on the same premises.
- No cannabis processor licensee may hold more than one cannabis processor license provided a single license may authorize processor activities at multiple locations.
- No adult-use cannabis processor shall have a direct or indirect interest in any premises licensed as an adult-use cannabis retail dispensary.
Adult-use Retail Dispensary:A retail dispensary license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, sale and delivery of cannabis to cannabis consumers.
- No person may have a direct or indirect financial or controlling interest in more than three adult-use retail dispensary licenses.
- No person holding a retail dispensary license may also hold an adult-use cultivation, processor, microbusiness, cooperative or distributor license.
- No cannabis retail licensee shall locate a storefront within 500 feet of a school grounds or within 200 feet of a house of worship.
Microbusiness: A microbusiness license shall authorize the limited cultivation, processing, distribution, delivery, and dispensing of their own adult-use cannabis and cannabis products.
- Microbusiness licensee may not hold any direct or indirect interest in any other license and may only distribute its own cannabis and cannabis products to dispensaries.
- The size, scope and eligibility criteria of a microbusiness shall be determined by the program’s regulatory agency. The granting of such licenses shall promote social and economic equity applicants.
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.
- No distributor shall have a direct or indirect economic interest in any microbusiness, adult-use retail dispensary, adult-use on-site consumption licensee or in any registered organization.
- Any distributor with a direct or indirect interest in a licensed cultivator or processor, shall only distribute cannabis or cannabis products cultivated and/or processed by such licensee.
Delivery:A delivery license shall authorize the delivery of cannabis and cannabis products by licensees independent of another adult-use cannabis license, provided that each delivery licensee may have a total of no more than twenty-five individuals, or the equivalent thereof, providing full-time paid delivery services to cannabis consumers per week under one license.
- No person may have a direct or indirect financial or controlling interest in more than one delivery license.
- The granting of such licenses shall promote social and economic equity applicants.
Adult-Use Consumption: A license that allows for the consumption of cannabis in an area.
- No person may have a direct or indirect financial or controlling interest in more than three adult-use on-site consumption licenses.
- No person holding an adult-use on-site consumption license may also hold an adult-use retail dispensary, cultivation, processor, microbusiness, cooperative or distributor license or be registered as a registered organization.
- Adult-use on-site consumption facilities must be at least 500 feet from school grounds or 200 feet from a house of worship.
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.
- To be licensed as an adult-use cooperative, the cooperative must be comprised of residents of the state of New York.
- No natural person or member of an adult-use cooperative license may have a direct or indirect financial or controlling interest in any other adult-use cannabis license.
- The board shall promulgate regulations governing cooperative licenses, including, but not limited to, the establishment of canopy limits on the size and scope of cooperative licensees, and other measures designed to incentivize the use and licensure of cooperatives.
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 shall create and implement a social and economic equity plan and 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.
A goal shall be established to award 50% of adult-use cannabis licenses to social and economic equity applicants and ensure inclusion of:
- individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition;
- minority-owned businesses;
- women-owned businesses;
- minority and women-owned businesses;
- distressed farmers; and
- service-disabled veterans.
The social and economic equity plan shall require the consideration of additional criteria in its licensing determinations. Under the social and economic equity plan, extra priority shall be given to applications that demonstrate that an applicant:
- is a member of a community disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition;
- has an income lower than 80% of the median income of the county in which the applicant resides; and
- was convicted of a marihuana-related offense or had a parent, guardian, child, spouse, or dependent, or was a dependent of an individual who, prior to the effective date of this bill, was convicted of a marihuana-related offense.
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 – Accepted CAURD Licenses anticipated to be issued
Mid 2023 – Anticipated date for normal licenses (non-CAURD)
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"Sara’s success speaks for itself. Our company continues to engage Sara for ongoing consulting and her advice remains solid and relevant to our growth."Owner, Firefly Dispensaries in Pennsylvania.
"Working with Sara was a pleasure. We don’t know how we would have gotten through the application process without her."Arizona Vertically Integrated Facility Owner