How to get a Cannabis Business License in New York
On late March 2021, New York legalized cannabis sales for adults over 21 years old. However, sales won’t go into effect until -at least- next year, with estimates expecting the market to capture more than $1.2 billion in sales on its first year. In this sense, if you live in the Empire State, and want to become a cannabis entrepreneur, knowing how to get a cannabis business license in New York is probably your top priority.
As the bill awaits implementation, the entities need to prepare themselves for the application process. Even though new businesses aren’t expected to open for at least a year, the licensing process will initiate sooner.
Types of cannabis business licenses available in New York
According to Bill S854, there are eight different types of adult-use cannabis licenses available in New York:
- Adult-Use Cultivator License
- Adult-Use Processor License
- Small Business Cooperative License
- Adult-Use Distributor License
- Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License
- Microbusiness License
- New York Cannabis Delivery License
- New York Cannabis Nursery License
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Fees for a cannabis business license in New York
The Cannabis Control Board is in charge of establishing the licensing fees. The licensing fees for the adult-use cannabis licenses have not been released yet, so you need to be alert to any news regarding this matter. There’s no way to know exactly how much the licensing fees are going to be, as some states charge a couple thousand dollars, while other states require tens of thousands of dollars.
Either way you have to have in mind that these costs are only the official fees in order to apply and maintain a license in the state. In order to prepare your team financially, you have to take into account real estate as well as operational/day-to-day costs to factor in how much money you will need to spend to get the operation going.
As a rule of thumb, you will probably want to budget for hundreds of thousands of dollars, to cover the entire operation.
How to get a cannabis business license in New York?
If you want to check specific requirements so far established by Bill S854, you’d probably want to check out our “New York Cannabis License Application” post. There are also specific requirements the applicant needs to comply with depending on the desired type of license.
In general, the Cannabis Control Board must develop regulations determining whether an applicant should be granted a license, basing those regulations on specific criteria, mostly regarding the applicant’s background information and capacity to carry the operation.
In this sense the applicants will be required to disclose the following:
- Information about their identity (including racial and ethnic diversity)
- Ownership and investment information
- Evidence of good moral character
- Financial statements
Also, the applicants will need to maintain a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization.
There are also some basic limitations established in S854:
- No license of any kind may be issued to a person under the age of twenty-one years, nor shall any licensee employ anyone under the age of twenty-one years.
- No licensee can sell, deliver, or give away or cause or permit or procure to be sold, delivered or given away any cannabis or cannabis product to any person, actually or apparently, under the age of twenty- one years unless the person under twenty-one is also a certified patient and the licensee is appropriately licensed under article three of this chapter.
- The board, on the recommendation of the office shall have the authority to limit, by canopy, plant count, square footage or other means, the amount of cannabis allowed to be grown, processed, distributed or sold by a licensee.
- All licenses expire two years after the date of issue.
In order to obtain a cannabis business license in New York, you should also prepare a cannabis business plan. That business plan should include the following items:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Market Analysis
- Competitive Analysis
- Management & Operations
- Marketing and Sales
- Financial Summary
- New York-Specific Requirements
A cannabis business plan is vital, as it is the blueprint to your cannabis business.
What licenses can you apply for simultaneously?
According to S854, you will need to apply for a separate license if you are planning on operating on different facilities. This means, you only get a license per facility. However, obtaining some licenses prohibits you to apply for other types of licenses simultaneously:
- Adult-Use Cultivator License: May not obtain a license to distribute
- Adult-Use Processor License: May not obtain a license to distribute
- Adult-Use Distributor License: May not also hold a retail dispensary license or have a direct or indirect interest in a retail dispensary.
- Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License: May not also hold an adult-use cultivation, processor, microbusiness, cooperative, or distributor license.
- Microbusiness License: May not hold an interest in any other license.
- Delivery License: May not hold a financial or controlling interest in more than one delivery license.
- Small Business Adult-Use Cooperative License: May not hold a retail dispensary license or have a direct or indirect interest in a retail dispensary.
- Adult-Use On-Site Consumption License: May not hold an adult-use retail dispensary, cultivation, processor, microbusiness, cooperative or distributor license. Also, a person may only have direct or indirect interest in three adult-use on-site consumption licenses.
If you want more information regarding what could you do in order to stay compliant with the cannabis industry in New York, don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you want to be updated on the current state of Cannabis legalization, you should check out our map of marijuana legality by state.
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