Would you like help with your New York cannabis business license application? Our New York cannabis license consulting team provides you with a step-by-step guide on how to apply for and win an adult-use cannabis business license.

But if you’d prefer to speak with our New York Marijuana Business Consultants, click the button below to schedule a free consultation.

Marijuana Application Expert in New York

New York Cannabis Business Consulting Firm

Laws and Regulations for New York’s Adult-Use Cannabis Industry

The key to winning an adult-use cannabis business license in New York is becoming familiar with the laws and regulations.

Here are the most important documents you should read:

Equally important, be aware that the Office of Cannabis Management (“Office”) will govern the adult-use cannabis industry in New York, including licensing. Our Marijuana Business Consultants recommend that you regularly check the information published on the OCM’s website.

Once you’ve reviewed the laws, the next step is for you to choose the type of New York cannabis business license you would like to pursue.

Timeline for License Application

New York is currently accepting applications for adult-use conditional cannabis cultivator licenses. The deadline to submit your application for these cultivation licenses is June 30, 2022.

On the other hand, the Office of Cannabis Management will likely accept applications for conditional adult-use:

  • Processing licenses in the coming weeks; and
  • Dispensary licenses in the late summer or autumn of 2022.

However, now is the time to begin preparing to win a New York Cannabis Business License.

Types of Cannabis Business Licenses in New York

Below is a list of the types of New York Adult-Use Cannabis Business Licenses that you can apply for:

  1. Cultivator License 
  2. Cooperative License
  3. Processor License 
  4. Nursery License
  5. Delivery License
  6. Distributor License
  7. Microbusiness License (cultivation, processing, distribution, delivery, and dispense)
  8. Retail Dispensary License 
  9. On-Site Consumption License
  10. Cannabis Testing License 

You’ll need a separate license for each facility where you cultivate, process, distribute, deliver, or dispense cannabis. Also, there are limits to the number and types of licenses you can simultaneously hold (more on this below).

Application Process for New York Cannabis License

At this time, New York has only published the application process for conditional cannabis cultivator licenses. However, we can expect the application to look similar for all of the other types of New York cannabis licenses.

Thus, to apply for a New York Cannabis Business License, you’re required to submit:

  • Ownership information
  • Organizational Structure Documents
  • Financial Disclosure Information
  • Organization Chart
  • Operating Plan
  • Floor and Site Plans
  • Facility Renderings
  • Application Fee
  • and more

The OCM will determine whether to award you a license depending on your ability to demonstrate your plans to adhere to New York regulations. Another major consideration is your ownership structure, team experience, and financial ability to execute your plans.

As you can see, New York will consider many factors when deciding who to award cannabis licenses to. You will want to do everything in your power to receive the highest score on your application.

Put differently, the license application is going to be extremely competitive. Reach out to our New York Cannabis Consultants to learn how we can manage your application from start to finish. We always aim for perfect scores and have one of the highest success rates in the industry (90.12%).

Marijuana Application Expert in New York

Fees (Cannabis Application and License Fees)

You’ll have to pay a non-refundable application fee of $2,000 to apply for a New York conditional cultivator license.

For the rest of the licenses, New York has not yet published the fees. Our New York cannabis consultants will update this section as information is released.

Social and Economic Equity in New York

New York’s Adult-Use Cannabis Industry will implement a Social and Economic Equity program. The goal is to actively promote and prioritize applicants who are:

  • From communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition;
  • Minority or women-owned business;
  • Distressed farmers; or
  • Service-disabled veterans.

New York is required to issue 50% of all adult-use cannabis licenses to Social and Economic Equity Applicants. Since New York plans to award 50% of licenses to Social Equity Applicants, qualifying as a Social Equity Applicant is a “make or break” for winning a license.

Extra Layer of Preference for Social Equity Applicants

Moreover, New York’s cannabis board will give EXTRA preference to Social and Economic Equity Applicants that:

  • 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 prior to the effective date of the bill, or had a parent, guardian, child, spouse, or dependent, or was a dependent of an individual who, prior to the effective date of the bill, was convicted of a marihuana-related offense.

In the appendix, we provide New York’s definition of Disproportionately Impacted Areas, Minority-Owned Business, Women-Owned Business, Distressed Farmer, and Service-Disabled Veteran (found here).

Local Municipality Control

Cities, towns, and villages can opt-out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses from locating within their jurisdictions.

In contrast, municipalities cannot opt-out of adult-use legalization.

Our New York Marijuana Consultants added the map below to show which municipalities in New York have opted-out of adult-use cannabis retail or consumption businesses (created by Mike Doyle):

Our New York Cannabis License Consultants recommend checking the ordinance of the municipality to intend to apply in. You’ll want to confirm the municipality allows your cannabis operation type.

How To Win a New York Cannabis License

At this point, you have a solid grasp of New York’s adult-use Laws, Application Process, Scoring Criteria, Preferred Applicant status, and municipal control.

Now, let’s discuss how to apply for and win a cannabis business license in New York.

Step 1 – Read the Act

To begin, our New York Cannabis Consultants suggest reading the laws and regulations. More specifically, read the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) that legalized adult-use cannabis in New York State.

Similarly, you should be aware that the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will:

  • Oversee New York’s adult-use cannabis industry; and
  • Issue licenses and develop regulations outlining how and when businesses can participate in the new industry.

Thus, we recommend reviewing the material available on the OCM’s website. Additionally, you should sign up for email updates from the OCM website, if possible.

Step 2 – Choose a Cannabis License Type

While you’re reading the Act, you will realize that there are various types of marijuana business licenses in New York that you can apply for.

Accordingly, each license permits you to conduct specific types of business activities. So if you want a license, the first step is to determine what type of operation you plan to start so that you apply for the right license.

Step 3 – Engage a New York Cannabis Consultant

Once you’ve chosen the license type, the next step is to engage a New York cannabis license consultant. A consultant will guide you through the entire application process, taking care of everything from writing the plans and SOPs to team recruitment and more.

Take the stress out of applying for a license. Allow our New York Marijuana Consultants to manage your cannabis application from start to finish. We have one of the highest success rates in the industry for obtaining cannabis business licenses (90.12%)

Reach out today to speak with our marijuana consulting team in New York.

New York Cannabis Consultant

Step 4 – Form a business entity

At this point, it’s a good idea to form a business entity. We most commonly see applicants from LLCs or S-corps. But you should consult an attorney to determine what fits best for you.

Step 5 – Identify a location

The fifth step is to identify property that is suitable for the cannabis operation you plan to start.

For instance, do you plan to start a cannabis business in an existing building or would you prefer building the facility from scratch? Will you lease or own the property? There are pros and cons to both options and you should weigh them carefully.

You will also want to check the local ordinances of the municipality for your chosen location. For example, you will want to make sure that the municipality has no restrictions governing the type of cannabis operation you intend to start. Also, you’ll want to make sure your facility is appropriately zoned.

As such, we encourage you to work with our New York Cannabis Consultants for guidance on choosing the right facility.

New York Cannabis Consultant

Step 6 – Recruit a Team

After you have the location figured out, the next step is to recruit a team. A strong team will help you raise capital and receive a higher score from the State on your New York cannabis license application.

Ideally, your team should reflect your ability to operate a compliant and effective cannabis operation. We recommend recruiting a team of experienced cannabis operators or experts in a related industry whose skills will translate into cannabis.

Step 7 – Develop a Business Plan

Developing a business plan will help you communicate your venture to interested parties. For instance, you can present your business plan to investors when seeking to raise capital.

Similarly, you can use your business plan to help build support from local municipal officials and community organizations. A professionally designed and elegant business plan goes a long way.

As an added benefit, you may be able to use parts of your business plan in your license application.

Step 8 – Raise Capital from Investors

If you are self-funding your project or do not need to raise capital, then you can skip to the next step.

From our marijuana consulting experience, we have found that the average start-up costs for cannabis retail businesses range from ~$450,000 to ~$1.8 million.

On the other hand, a cultivation or processing facility can easily require start-up costs ranging from ~$3,000,000 to ~$11,000,000+ depending on the size of the facility and whether there is an existing building or not.

Start-up costs for cannabis businesses in New York typically include

  • Application and License Fees
  • Securing real estate
  • Renovations
  • Construction costs
  • Purchasing Equipment
  • Paying attorneys, accountants, consultants, architects, etc.
  • Talent recruitment
  • Travel expenses
  • First-year operating expenses
  • and more

Unless you have access to millions, you will want to put together a business plan and investment pitch deck to convince investors to fund your project.  It is important to develop detailed Pro-forma financial statements that show investors expected revenue, costs, and cash flows.

Luckily, our New York Cannabis Experts can help you craft a business plan and investment pitch deck that can help you raise capital.

To find out more, please follow the link below to speak with our cannabis consulting firm in New York.

New York Cannabis Consultant

Step 9 – Write a Cannabis Application for a New York Cannabis License

Finally, it is time to sit down and write an application for the cannabis license you would like to win.

New York is still in the process of developing the application that will detail the instruction for applying. Our New York Cannabis License Consulting firm will update this section once the application is released.

However, based on our experience writing cannabis license applications across the globe, we predict that the application will require you to write a:

  • Business Plan
  • Security Plan
  • Operating Plan
  • Marketing Plan
  • Seed-to-sale Tracking Plan
  • Employee Staffing and Training Plan
  • Diversity Plan
  • Community Impact Plan
  • Environmental Plan
  • and more

As shown above, marijuana license applications can easily reach the 1,000 – 2,000 page count. The State will use your application to determine if you qualify to operate a compliant, safe, and effective cannabis business in New York.

Thus, writing a strong cannabis license application in New York is essential for starting a cannabis business.

Luckily, Quantum 9’s team of New York Cannabis Consultants consists of expert cannabis application writers who can significantly improve your chances of receiving a top score and winning a license. We specialize in winning licenses in the most competitive market (here is a video highlighting some of our highest scoring application wins in the past decade).

Conclusions from our Cannabis Consulting Firm in New York

Our New York Cannabis License Consulting firm is ready to help you become a cannabis business owner. Currently, we offer various cannabis consulting services in New York, including application writing services, capital raising, talent acquisition, facility design, brand development, and more.

If you want to start a marijuana business in New York, save time, money, and headaches by allowing us to manage your project from start to finish. We’ve won licenses in over 27 U.S. States and 6 countries, so why not let the experts do the work?

We’re here to help. As global leaders in cannabis consulting, we have the resources to win you a license and help you become a cannabis business owner.

So, if you have any questions, be sure to contact us. Our team can’t wait to help you build your cannabis business!

New York Cannabis License Consulting

Additional Information from our New York Cannabis License Consulting Firm

Ownership and Location limits

Our Cannabis Consultants in New York Summarize the limits on the number of cannabis licenses a person may own. In summary, no person may have a direct or indirect financial or controlling interest in more than:

  • 3 retail dispensary licenses
  • 1 cultivator license
  • 1 processor license
  • 1 microbusiness license
  • 1 delivery license

However, a New York adult-use cultivator and processor can apply for one distributor license solely for distributing their own product.

Below our New York Cannabis License Experts provide further details on ownership and location limitations for each license type.

Ownership and Location Limits for Cultivator Licenses in New York

For New York cultivator licensees, you cannot also hold an adult-use retail dispensary license. Also, New york Cultivator Licensees cannot have any direct or indirect interest in any adult-use retail dispensary. However, the New York adult-use cultivation license allows you to operate in more than one location.

Ownership and Location Limits for Processor Licenses in New York

No cannabis processor licensee may hold more than one cannabis processor license. However,  a single adult-use processor license in New York authorizes processor activities at multiple locations. In addition, no adult-use cannabis processor shall have a direct or indirect interest in any New York Cannabis Dispensar Retailer or Medical Cannabis Company in New York.

Ownership Limits for Cooperative Licenses in 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 issued pursuant to this chapter.

No adult-use cannabis cooperative shall have a direct or indirect interest, including by stock ownership, interlocking directors, mortgage or lien, personal or real property, or any other means, in any premises licensed as an adult-use cannabis retail dispensary or in any business licensed as an adult-use cannabis retail dispensary pursuant to this chapter.

Ownership Limits for Distributor Licenses in New York

No New York 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 medical cannabis registered organization in New York.

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.

Ownership Limits for Adult-Use Dispensary Retailer Licenses in New York

No person may have a direct or indirect financial or controlling interest in more than three adult-use retail dispensary licenses issued pursuant to this chapter.

Similarly, no person holding a retail dispensary license may also hold an:

  • adult-use cultivation;
  • processor;
  • microbusiness;
  • cooperative; or
  • distributor license.
Ownership and Location Limits for Adult-Use Cannabis Microbusiness License in New York

A New York cannabis 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.

Ownership and Location Limits for an Adult-Use Cannabis Delivery License in New York

Finally, no person may have a direct or indirect financial or controlling interest in more than one delivery license.

It’s important to recognize the ownership and location limits for the license type you are interested in. Our New York Cannabis License Consulting team is available to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to reach out and speak with one of our New York Cannabis License Experts.

New York Cannabis Consultant

Selling your license and/or change of ownership

The board may wholly prohibit and/or prescribe specific criteria under which it will consider and allow limited transfers or changes of ownership, interest, or control during the registration or license application period and/or up to two years after an approved applicant commences licensed activities.

In other words, our New York Cannabis Consultants interpret this as license holders are guaranteed the ability to sell their license after 2 years.

However, there is a chance that you can sell your license during your first two years.

On the other hand, licenses issued to Social and Economic Equity Applicants shall not be transferred or sold within the first three years of issue, except to a qualified social and economic equity applicant and with the prior written approval of the board.

In the event a social and economic equity applicant seeks to transfer or sell their license at any point after the issue, and the transferee is to a person or entity that does not qualify as a social and economic equity applicant, the transfer agreement shall require the new license holder to pay to the board any outstanding amount owed by the transferor to the board as repayment of any loan issued by the board as well as any other fee or assessment as determined by the board.

The final rules regarding license ownership sales have not been published. But our New York Cannabis Consulting firm will update this section immediately upon release.

Communities Disproportionately Impacted in New York

You may be wondering “What are Communities disproportionately impacted in New York?

As defined by the bill, Disproportionately Impacted Communities are certain geographic areas, such as but not limited to, precincts, zip codes, neighborhoods, and political subdivisions that have a history of:

  • Arrests;
  • Convictions; and
  • Other law enforcement practices.

These areas reflect disparate enforcement of cannabis prohibition.

The board will issue guidelines to determine how to assess which communities have been disproportionately impacted and how to assess if someone is a member of a community disproportionately impacted. Our New York Cannabis Consulting team will update this section once more information is released.

Minority-Owned  Business

To qualify as a minority-owned cannabis business in New York, you must have at least 51% ownership owned by one or more minority groups (Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, and Pacific Islander Persons)

Women-Owned Business

To qualify as a Women-Owned Business in New York, you must have at least 51% ownership in one or more women and the enterprise must be a small business.

Important to note, a firm owned by a minority group member who is also a woman may be defined as a minority-owned business, a women-owned business, or both.

Distressed Farmer

A Distressed Farmer applicant is a company that meets the small farm classification developed by the Department of Agriculture. Also, the applicant must have filed a schedule F with farm receipts for the last three years, qualifies for an agriculture assessment and meets other qualifications defined in regulation by the board to demonstrate that they operate a farm operation.

Alternatively, you can qualify as a distressed farmer if the applicant is a New York state resident or business enterprise, including a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or corporation, that is a small farm operator and a member of a group that has been historically underrepresented in farm ownership and meets any other qualifications as defined in regulation by board.

Service-Disabled Veteran

A Service-disabled veteran means persons qualified under article seventeen-B of the executive law.

Useful resources related to New York Cannabis License Consulting:

Here are some additional resources that our New York Cannabis Consulting firm recommend reviewing:

Check out these related posts that our New York Cannabis Consultants put together:

Julio Soriagalvarro

Author Julio Soriagalvarro

As the Managing Director at Quantum 9, I help entrepreneurs and investors win licenses and start cannabis businesses in medical and adult-use markets. I manage teams that continuously produce cannabis business license applications that outcompete the best attorneys and largest multi-state operators in the world. We’ve helped clients become cannabis business owners in 27 US States and 6 countries.

More posts by Julio Soriagalvarro

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