New York Cannabis Business Applications Are Live and the Deadline is Extended: What We’ve Learned

By Bridgette Nikisher

Oct 18, 2023

New York’s adult-use regulations are effective and the first application period for certain adult-use licenses is underway! 

At the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) meeting on October 17, 2023, CCB announced that they are extending the deadline for applications by two weeks. The OCM will now begin its first review and approval process for retailer and microbusiness (with retail) applicants with property control who apply with property by 5 p.m. ET on Friday, November 17, 2023. All remaining applicants (including Retailer and Microbusiness without property control) now have until 5 p.m. ET on Monday, December 18, 2023 to submit their applications.

Available adult-use license types include Type 1 and Type 2 Indoor Cultivator, Processor, Distributor, Microbusiness, and Retail Dispensary licenses. Adult-use Conditional Cultivators and Adult-use Conditional Processors who are in good standing are also eligible to transition to a non-conditional license at this time.

Continue reading for details related to Social and Economic Equity Applicant applications, how many licenses will be awarded, the review and selection process, property control and proximity protection, and true parties of interest disclosures. 

Social and Economic Equity Applicants

Social and Economic Equity (SEE) applicants will receive priority review and a 50% reduction in application fees ($500) and a 50% reduction in license fees, as well as access to technical training and business development. SEE Applicants include individuals from a community disproportionately impacted (CDI), woman-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses (SDVOBs), and distressed farmers who can provide documentation that they qualify.

Applicants seeking to apply as SEE will be redirected to a separate SEE application where they will be asked to select their SEE type and provide supporting documentation. Please note that each applicant only submits one SEE application. If you qualify for multiple SEE categories, be sure to check all applicable categories and upload all relevant documentation within the application before submitting.

Cannabis Business License Limits in New York

In this round, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) estimates it will give out the following number of licenses:

  • Retail Dispensary: 500 – 1000

  • Microbusiness: 220

  • Indoor Cultivation (Tier 1 – up to 5,000 sq.ft.): 20

  • Indoor Cultivation (Tier 2 – between 5,000 and 12,500 sq.ft.): 20

  • Processor (Type 1: Extracting, plus all activities of Types 2 and 3): 55

  • Processor (Type 2: Infusing and blending, plus all activities of Type 3): 100

  • Processor (Type 3: Packaging, labeling, and branding, including for the performance of white labeling agreements only): no allocation limit, OCM will review on a rolling basis

  • Distributor: 30  (does not include processors who wish to also obtain a distributor license)

Notably, OCM’s Cannabis Control Board may decide to issue more than the estimated allocations based on market needs.

Review and Selection Process for New York Cannabis Business Licenses

This application period is open until December 17, 2023. After the application window closes, each application pool will be sorted into a queue using a randomized process. The pools will be based on license type, SEE certification, and provisional status. OCM will review applications in each application pool in order, with Social and Economic Equity (SEE) applications reviewed first.

SEE applications will not be reviewed and certified until after the application window has closed and the randomized ordering of the pools has taken place. SEE applications will be reviewed until the CCB has issued the number of licenses allocated for this application window. Once all SEE applications have been reviewed, general applications will be reviewed. Given this system, it is possible that not all applications will be reviewed before all available licenses for this round have been issued.

Property Control and Proximity Protection

Cultivators, Processors, and Distributors will not be issued a license without submitting proof of control over a property. 

Retail Dispensaries and Microbusiness do not need to apply with proof of property control. However, as stated above, retail dispensary applicants who apply with property control on or before November 17, 2023 will receive expedited review. If you do not provide property control, upon receipt of a provisional license you will have up to 12 months to secure a property and submit documentation to obtain a final license.

Retail Dispensary and Microbusiness (with Retail) applicants need to be aware of proximity protection. Proximity protection grants either a 1,000 or 2,000-foot radius (depending on the population of the municipality) around an approved retail property. If multiple Retail or Microbusiness (with Retail) applicants propose the same retail premises, then the applicant highest in the queue will receive Proximity Protection. Applicants that receive proximity protection will have 20 days to demonstrate to the OCM progress towards beginning operations or else they will lose their proximity protection.

Site control can be shown by uploading an executed deed or lease agreement. You must also provide the address and the GPS coordinates of the proposed site.

True Parties of Interest Disclosures for New York Cannabis License Applicants

In the application, you will designate one person to be the contact person for TPI disclosures. This contact person will be emailed with instructions to submit TPI disclosures through a secure portal. Please be sure to provide an email that is constantly monitored, as applications will not be reviewed until all TPI disclosures have been submitted. Any TPI with a financial and controlling interest will also be required to obtain a fingerprint-based background check and undergo a tax clearance check.

As always, Vicente LLP’s attorneys are here to answer any questions you have on filling out an application, applying as a Social and Economic Equity Applicant, property control and requirements, and any other application-related issues. Click here to schedule a consultation with one of our New York attorneys.

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