Cannabis Business Licensing in New York

An Update on Cannabis Business Licensing in New York

The adult-use cannabis market in New York has generated significant excitement and anticipation since the state’s legalization of recreational cannabis in 2021. However, the industry is currently in a state of transition as stakeholders eagerly await the finalization of regulations and the announcement of a cannabis business licensing period for the general population. This article provides an overview on the current state of New York’s adult-use cannabis market, highlighting the key developments, regulatory landscape, and the eagerly anticipated opportunities that lie ahead for entrepreneurs, investors, and consumers in the state.

Cannabis Business Licensing in New York

New York’s adult-use cannabis market is under the purview of the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and the Cannabis Control Board. These entities are responsible for overseeing the regulation, licensing, and implementation of the adult-use cannabis industry in the state. For more detailed information on the market and its regulations, interested individuals can review the state’s website here

While specific dates for the upcoming cannabis business licensing round have not been announced yet, industry stakeholders anticipate that applications will be accepted sometime in mid-to-late 2023. The licensing process will provide aspiring entrepreneurs and investors with an opportunity to apply for various types of licenses, including those for cultivation, processing, distribution, and retail operations. Once the licensing period is officially announced, interested parties can submit their applications and undergo the necessary evaluation and vetting processes.

Unlike some other states, New York does not currently have a state-wide license cap for cannabis businesses. The determination on the number of licenses available will largely depend on individual municipalities’ decisions to opt in or opt out of allowing cannabis businesses within their jurisdictions. This approach grants local authorities the ability to regulate and manage the presence of cannabis establishments based on their unique considerations, such as zoning regulations, community preferences, and public safety concerns. As a result, the number of licensed cannabis businesses in New York will vary across different regions within the state.

As the adult-use cannabis market in New York continues to develop, industry participants and stakeholders should closely monitor announcements and updates from the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board to stay informed about licensing requirements, regulations, and any changes that may affect the business landscape. By actively engaging with the evolving regulatory framework, entrepreneurs and investors can position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise in this emerging market.

New York Social Equity: CAURD Initiatives

The initial wave of dispensaries authorized for legal adult-use cannabis sales in New York are CAURD licensees. These licenses have been specifically allocated to qualified applicants who meet social and economic equity criteria. In a recent announcement, the state revealed its decision to increase the number of initially reserved licenses from 150 to 300, effectively doubling the opportunities for social and economic equity participants in the cannabis industry.

To be considered a social equity applicant in New York, the business must maintain 51% or more ownership by those qualifying under social equity status. According to the Marijuana Regulation Taxation Act, “such minority ownership is real, substantial and continuing; in which such minority ownership has and exercises the authority to control the day-to-day business decisions of the enterprise independently.”

The Marijuana Regulation Taxation Act (MRTA) sets the following qualifications for social equity applicants: 

  • Individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition
  • Minority-Owned Businesses
  • Women-Owned Businesses
  • Veteran-Owned Businesses
  • Distressed Farmers

By prioritizing social and economic equity in the licensing process, New York is taking steps to address the harms caused by the war on drugs and create a more equitable and fair cannabis industry. The expansion of social equity licenses not only provides opportunities for underrepresented individuals and communities but also contributes to a more diverse and inclusive marketplace for adult-use cannabis in the state of New York.

How Can Point Seven Group Help?

The team of cannabis consultants and professionals at Point Seven Group have worked extensively in the U.S. and international cannabis markets and are familiar with the unique challenges of the cannabis industry. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with more cannabis industry updates!

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