How to Get a New York Dispensary License

Oct 13, 2021 | Uncategorized

New York marijuana legalization is finally here! The state legalized adult-use marijuana on March 31, 2021. But how to get a dispensary license in New York when the space is just now coming into existence?

The Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) created a new Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), which will be governed by a Cannabis Control Board that will be responsible for overseeing and implementing the law.

The OCM will begin issuing licenses once it develops its regulations. These regulations will outline the various adult-use cannabis license types and ownership limitations in accordance with guidance from the MRTA.

Keep in mind, prior to the OCM issuing adult-use cannabis licenses, it must complete several foundational tasks. This, of course, includes appointing its Cannabis Control Board, issuing and adopting regulations, hiring and training OCM staff, and formulating the process for issuing, accepting, and awarding licenses to applicants.

We’ll continue keeping you updated on any progress made for this space. But for now, keep reading to learn more about what we expect the process to be like to get a dispensary license in New York.

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The Process for How to Get a Dispensary License in New York

Medical Marijuana Program Applications

We expect the process to be quite similar to how New York medical marijuana program applications are handled. But only time will tell!

Here’s some insight into how the Department accepts applications for registration as a registered organization:

Each applicant had to submit two fees with their application; a non-refundable application fee of $10,000, and a registration fee of $200,000.

The $200,000 registration is refunded if the applicant isn’t issued a registration. During the time the Department was evaluating and accepting completed applications, there was a deadline for submission.

The New York Code of Rules and Regulations and the Department’s Medical Marijuana Program website showed the deadline for submission of questions pertaining to the application process. This deadline was May 21, 2015, and the deadline for Department receipt of applications was June 5, 2015.

We can expect something similar to be put in place for adult-use dispensary licenses. But time will tell what the state expects from applicants.

License Types a Dispensary Might Need

Here’s a list of license types, descriptions, and ownership limits for dispensaries in New York. Keep in mind, we’re still waiting on more information for how to get a dispensary license in NY now that the state has decided to allow recreational cannabis.

Adult-use Cultivator License

This license involves growing, cloning, harvesting, drying, curing, grading, and trimming cannabis plants. The cultivator’s license will allow awardees to acquire, possess, distribute, cultivate, and sell cannabis from its licensed premises to licensed processors.

The Adult-use Cultivator License comes with some ownership limitations. No one person is allowed to own more than one of these licenses. Cultivators can own a processor license and one distributor license to allow them to distribute their own products. However, cultivators are not allowed to own or have an interest in a licensee in the cannabis retail tier.

Adult-use Nursery License

With a nursery license, you can produce, sell, and distribute clones, immature plants, seeds, and other agricultural products that are used for planting, propagating, and cultivating cannabis by licensed adult-use cultivators, microbusinesses, registered organizations, or cooperatives.

Adult-use cultivators are allowed to hold one nursery license.

Adult-use Processor License

This license allows licensees to extract concentrated cannabis and/or compounds, extracts, blends, infuses, and other manufactured concentrated cannabis or cannabis products. Having this license lets people acquire, possess, process, and sell cannabis from the licensed properties of adult-use cultivators to licensed distributors.

No one is allowed to own more than one processor license. However, a processor can also get a distributor license to distribute their own products. Processors are also not allowed to own or have an interest in a licensee in the cannabis retail space.

Adult-use Distributor License

Distributor licenses allow for the acquisition, possession, distribution, and sale of cannabis from the licensed property of a licensed adult-use processor, microbusiness, adult-use cooperative, or registered organization that’s authorized to sell adult-use cannabis. This is only allowed to duly licensed retail dispensaries, adult-use delivery licensees, and on-site consumption sites.

No one person is allowed to own more than one distributor license. Distributors cannot own or have an interest in a licensee in the cannabis retail space.

Adult-use Cooperative License

Cooperative licenses allow licensees to acquire, possess, cultivate, process, and sell from the licensed properties of the adult-use cooperative. The licensees can engage with duly licensed distributors, on-site consumption sites, registered organizations, and retail dispensaries. However, they cannot sell directly to consumers.

These licenses must be organized under cooperative principles. This includes and isn’t limited to democratic control by cooperative members, with each member possessing one vote.

No one person is allowed to own more than one cooperative license. Cooperatives cannot own or have an interest in a licensee involved in the cannabis retail space.

Adult-use Microbusiness License

Microbusiness licensees can act as cannabis producers for cannabis cultivation, cannabis distributor, cannabis processor, and cannabis retailer licensees. With this license, licensees can conduct limited cultivation, distribution, delivery, processing, and sales of their own adult-use cannabis and cannabis products.

No one licensee can own more than one microbusiness license. Microbusinesses cannot have an interest in or own any other adult-use license type.

Adult-use Retail Dispensary License

Retail dispensary licensees are allowed to acquire, possess, sell, and deliver cannabis from licensed properties of the retail dispensary. These actions are to cannabis consumers.

No one is allowed to own more than three retail dispensary licenses. Retail licensees cannot own or have an interest in a licensee in the processing, distribution, or cultivation space.

Adult-use On-site Consumption License

These licensees become licensed by the Cannabis Control Board. This license allows for the acquisition, sale, and possession of cannabis from the licensed properties of the on-site consumption licensee to cannabis consumers for use at the location.

No licensee can have more than three on-site consumption licenses. On-site consumption licensees cannot own or have an interest in the processing, cultivation, or distribution space.

Registered Organization Adult-use Cultivator Processor Distributor Retail Dispensary License

Registered organization cultivator process distributor retail dispensary licenses allow a registered organization the same privileges and conditions as adult-use cultivator, distributor, retail dispensary, and processor licensees. The property of registered organization adult-use retail dispensaries is limited to three of the organization’s medical dispensaries and only allows for the distribution of the registered organization’s own products. The Cannabis Control Board will determine the timing and manner of a registered organization’s participation in the adult-use space.

Registered organizations cannot have an interest in or own any other adult-use license type.

Registered Organization Adult-use Cultivator Processor Distributor License

Registered organization cultivator process distributor licenses allow registered organizations the same privileges as adult-use cultivator, distributor, and processor licensees. The Cannabis Control Board will determine the timing and manner of a registered organization’s participation in the adult-use space.

Registered organizations are not allowed to have an interest in or own any other type of adult-use license.

Concluding on How to Get a New York Dispensary License

There are five different licenses that one can obtain in order to participate in New York’s adult-use cannabis industry. The rules of participation for medical and adult-use cannabis businesses vary.

To ensure success within the new industry, it’s important to understand these differences before beginning any business endeavors. On top of this, you’ll need to be clear on how to obtain your license.

New York’s adult-use space is just now starting. As the state determines how it will be handling licensing, it’s important to stay on top of all rules and regulations to ensure compliance.

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