New York Cannabis License Application

New York Cannabis LicenseNew York Cannabis legalization is here because governor andrew cuomo signed the regulatory framework for the new law allowing incubator programs and business licenses for personal use of marijuana for adults in the empire state.  The bill that legalized the adult-use cannabis program in the Big Apple, business men and women can start getting ready for cannabis dispensaries because New York has legalized recreational cannabis. Under the compassionate care act, only ten medical marijuana companies comprise the entire Empire State’s medical marijuana license types. The New York medical marijuana program was one of the strictest in the country, but time will tell if its recreational cannabis industry will be open for entrepreneurs like you. 

Legalization in New York has become law of the land, but Governor Hochel’s new Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) governed by a Cannabis Control Board is still setting regulations on the Adult Use Cultivator License, Adult use retail dispensary license and others. Here we explain everything there is to know so far about New York License Application Process.  Get Ready to apply for a dispensary license if you want to operated an adult use retail license.

New York Cannabis business license applications 

Now that marijuana legalization is here, any person 21 and over in New York can apply for a Cannabis business license for a  license to cultivate, process, distribute or  dispense  cannabis  within this  state  for sale, but the non refundable application fee is required. 

New York application shall be in writing and verified and have other variables that contain information the cannabis control board requires.  Applications have to  be  accompanied  by  a check or draft for the amount required for such license. If the  board  approves the  application,  it  has to issue  a  license in such form as determined by its rules. 

A separate  marijuana business license shall  be  required  for each adult use facility at which cultivation, processing, distribution or retail dispensing is conducted.

The board is authorized to adopt regulations, including by emergency  rule, establishing information which must be included on an application for adult use cannabis license types that sell cannabis. 

Information for a NY Cannabis application for a commercial cannabis registered organization may include:  

  • non-refundable application fee
  • First name & last name
  • information about the applicant’s identity,  including  racial  and ethnic diversity; 
  • ownership and investment information,  including the corporate structure; 
  • evidence  of  good  moral  character, 
  • including  the  submission of fingerprints by the applicant to the division of criminal justice services; information about the premises to  be licensed;  
  • financial statements; and any other information prescribed by regulation.

New York Cannabis License Fees.

The board has the authority to charge applicants for licensure a non-refundable application fee.  Such fee  may  be  based  on the type of licensure sought, cultivation and/or production volume, or any other factors deemed reasonable and  appropriate.

The  board also has the authority to assess a registered organization with a one-time special  licensing  fee  for  a  registered organization adult-use cultivator,  processor,  distributor,  retail dispensary license.   

The  board has the authority to charge licensees a biennial license fee. Such fees will be based on the amount  of  cannabis  to  be cultivated,  processed,  distributed and/or dispensed by the licensee or the gross annual receipts of the licensee for the previous license period, and any other factors.

The board shall waive or reduce fees for social and economic equity applicants. The empire state is trying to welcome new businesses with emerging agricultural products. 

social and economic equity applicants get benefits under the new law

The east coast is making social equity a core aspect of its adult use market. Beyond the traditional Disproportionately impacted areas that have been injured by the drug war, or those that have been arrested for marijuana offenses.  New York Social Equity expands its benefits to distressed farmers, disabled veterans, delivery services may even be limited to social equity businesses, or they will at least be granted priority in the application process.




Limited amount of Cannabis Licenses for New York



The state cannabis advisory  board  has  the  authority  to  recommend  to  the  board the number of licenses issued pursuant to ensure a competitive market where no licensee is dominant  in the statewide marketplace or in any individual category of licensing, to

 actively  promote  and  potentially  license  social equity applicants, and carry out the goals of this chapter.

Selection criteria for NY Cannabis Applications for registered organizations

The OCM and the board will develop regulations for determining adult use license types and for whether an applicant should be granted the  privilege of  a license in new york, based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:

  • The applicant is a social and economic equity applicant;

The applicant will be able to maintain effective  control  against the illegal diversion of cannabis;

The  applicant  will  be able to comply with all applicable state laws and regulations;

The applicant and its officers are ready,  willing,  and  able  to properly carry on the activities for which a license is sought including with  assistance  from  the  social  and  economic  equity and incubator program, if applicable;

The applicant possesses or has the right to use  sufficient  land, buildings,  and equipment to properly carry on the activity described in the application or has a plan to do so if qualifying  as  a  social  and economic equity applicant;

The applicant qualifies as a social equity applicant or sets out a plan for  benefiting  communities  and  people  disproportionately impacted by  enforcement of cannabis laws;

  •  it is in the public interest that such license be granted, taking into consideration, but not limited to, the following criteria:
    • That  it  is a privilege, and not a right, to cultivate, process, distribute, and sell adult-use cannabis;               
    • The number, classes, and character of other licenses in proximity to the location and in the particular municipality or subdivision thereof;
    • Evidence that all necessary licenses and permits  have  been  or will be obtained from the state and all other relevant governing bodies;
    • Effect  of  the  grant of the license on pedestrian or vehicular traffic, and parking, in proximity to the location;
    • The existing noise level at the location and any increase in noise level that would be generated by the proposed premises;
    • The ability to mitigate adverse environmental impacts,  including but not limited to water usage, energy usage and carbon emissions;
    • The  effect  on the production and availability of cannabis and cannabis products; and
    • Any other factors specified by law or regulation that are relevant to determine that granting a license would promote  public  convenience and advantage and the public interest of the community;
    • The applicant and its managing officers are of good moral character and do not  have  an  ownership  or  controlling  interest  in  more licenses or permits than allowed by this chapter;
    • The  applicant  has  entered  into a labor peace agreement with a bona-fide labor organization that is actively engaged in representing or attempting to represent the applicant’s employees, and  the  maintenance of  such  a labor peace agreement shall be an ongoing material condition of licensure. In evaluating applications from entities with  twenty-five or more employees, the office shall give priority to applicants that are a  party  to  a  collective  bargaining agreement with a bona-fide labor organization in New York or in another state, and uses  union  labor  to construct its licensed facility;       
    • The applicant will contribute to communities and people disproportionately  harmed  by  enforcement  of  cannabis  laws  and report these contributions to the board;
    • If the application is for an  adult-use  cultivator  or  processor license,  the  environmental  and  energy  impact  of the facility to be licensed;
    • The applicant satisfies any other conditions as determined by  the board; and
    • If the applicant is a registered organization, the organization’s maintenance of effort in manufacturing and/or dispensing and/or research of medical cannabis for certified patients and caregivers.


Limitations to New York Cannabis License

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.




New York Cannabis License Renewal

Each New York cannabis license, may be renewed upon application and payment of  fee. 

In the case of applications for renewals, the board may dispense  with  the requirements of such statements as it deems unnecessary in view of those contained  in  the application made for the original license, but in any event the submission of photographs of the licensed  premises  shall  be dispensed  with,  provided  the  applicant for such renewal shall file a statement with the board to the effect that there has been no alteration of such premises since the original license was issued.  

Each applicant must  submit  to  the  board  documentation  of  the racial,  ethnic,  and  gender diversity of the applicant’s employees and owners prior to a license being renewed. 

The board has to provide an application for  renewal  of  a  license issued under this article not less than ninety days prior to the expiration of the current license.

The  board  may  only  issue a renewal license upon receipt of the prescribed renewal application and renewal fee from a  licensee  if,  in addition  to the criteria in this section, the licensee’s license is not under suspension and has not been revoked.

Each applicant must maintain a labor peace agreement with  a  bonafide  labor  organization  that  is  actively engaged in representing or attempting to represent the applicant’s employees and the maintenance of such a labor peace agreement shall be an ongoing material  condition  of  licensure.

New York Cannabis Social Equity Program

The  board  shall  consult  with  the  state  cannabis  advisory board and the New York Cannabis Licensechief equity officer to create a social responsibility framework agreement  and  make the  adherence  to  such  agreement a conditional requirement of license renewal.  The board promotes applicants that foster racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in their workplace.

Each applicant must provide evidence of the execution of their plan for  benefiting  communities  and  people disproportionately impacted by cannabis law enforcement required  for initial  licensing  pursuant  to section sixty-four of this article.

Amendments to marijuana business license

In the case of changes in ownership and organizational structure. Licenses issued have to specify:

  • The name and address of the licensee;
  • The activities permitted by the license;
  • The land, buildings and  facilities  that  may  be  used  for  the licensed activities of the licensee;
  • A unique license number issued by the board to the licensee; and               
  • Such other information as the board shall deem necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter. 

Upon  application  of  a  licensee  to the board, a license may be amended to allow the licensee to relocate within the state,  to  add  or delete  licensed  activities or facilities, or to amend the ownership or  organizational structure of the entity that is the licensee.  The  board will establish a fee for such amendments.

A  license will become void by a change in ownership, substantial corporate change or location  without  prior  written  approval  of  the board. The  board may promulgate regulations allowing for certain types of changes in ownership without the need for prior written approval.

“substantial corporate change” mean:

  •  For a corporation, a change of eighty percent or more of the officers  and/or directors, or a transfer of eighty percent or more of stock of such corporation, or an existing stockholder obtaining eighty percent or more of the stock of such corporation; or
  • For a limited liability company, a change  of  eighty  percent  or more  of  the  managing  members of the company, or a transfer of eighty percent or more of ownership interest in said company,  or  an  existing member obtaining a cumulative of eighty percent or more of the ownership interest in said company

Types of New York Cannabis Licenses

Update: On March 27, 2021, state lawmakers reached a deal to allow sales of recreational use marijuana.

The agreement reached set up a a licensing and taxation system for recreational sales. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the bill on March 30, which is the earliest they could consider it.

Legislative leaders hope to vote on the budget on March 31 to meet the deadline of having a budget in place by April 1.

The legislation would take effect immediately if passed but for sales to start, New York has to set up rules and a cannabis board first. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes recently estimated it could take 18 months to two years for sales to start.

Don’t miss out on our Marijuana Legalization Map where you can browse the current status of laws in every state in the United States and see all our posts on each of them.



Licensed to practice since 2008, Thomas Howard has represented numerous financial institutions in litigation to enforce their security interests.


Licensed to practice since 2008, Thomas Howard has represented numerous financial institutions in litigation to enforce their security interests.

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