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What Are the Different Types of Cannabis Business Licenses in NY?

What Are the Different Types of Cannabis Business Licenses in NY?

New Yorkers have the opportunity to apply for cannabis business licenses, which, although stringent, marks a significant shift in the state's approach to cannabis regulation. This new framework can create a regulated and organized market for cannabis, potentially opening doors for many.

That being said, New York continues to enforce strict laws regarding the unlawful possession, sale, trafficking, and cultivation of cannabis. Read more about these laws as well as the process for obtaining New York cannabis business licenses to better understand the opportunities and responsibilities involved.

Types of New York Cannabis Business Licenses

The Office of Cannabis Management's (OCM) adult-use cannabis market was established when the Cannabis Law was passed in March 2021. This legalized cannabis for adults 21 years of age or older, marking a significant shift in the landscape. As a result, there are multiple cannabis business licenses available, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to enter the industry.

Types of licenses are as follows:

  • 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

How to Apply for a Cannabis License

License applications must be submitted in writing to the OCM. Since there are various types of facilities (cultivation, distribution, etc.), a separate license is required for each one.

Furthermore, a raft of documents must accompany the license application, and the applicable fees must be paid. Before beginning your application, it is crucial to be well-versed in the extensive list of requirements.

These requirements include:

  • The applicant’s identity, racial, and ethnic background
  • Ownership and investment details
  • Evidence of the owner(s)’ good moral character
  • Financial statements
  • Details regarding the premises to be licensed

Additionally, the applicant must submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. The granting of a license may depend on the applicant having no prior criminal record. Although different rules exist for cultivators, processors, distributors, and dispensaries, all must meet strict eligibility criteria.

Selection Criteria for Applicants

After submitting an application, the OCM considers various other criteria before granting your license.

Priority is given to:

  • Applicants who can prevent illegal cannabis diversion
  • Applicants ready to perform licensed activities
  • Applicants compliant with state laws and regulations
  • Applicants with sufficient facilities and equipment
  • Applicants with a plan to benefit affected communities
  • Applicants for whom granting a license serves the public interest
  • Social and economic equity applicants

Priority is given to social and economic equity applicants due to certain New York communities being affected by past cannabis laws. The OCM aims to create a framework for licensees to follow, promoting racial, ethnic, and gender diversity. Applicants must show how they benefit impacted communities.

How Much Is a Cannabis License in New York?

The license fees for adult-use cannabis licenses in New York have yet to be determined. Historically, applicants for medical cannabis licenses have paid a $10,000 non-refundable application fee and a $20,000 refundable registration fee.

For recreational cannabis, fees can include:

  • An application fee that is likely non-refundable
  • Fee amounts vary based on the type of license and product volumes
  • A biennial license fee based on product volume or gross annual receipts of the licensee from the previous license period
  • Fee waivers or reductions for equity applicants

New York Cannabis Laws & Penalties

New York's laws impose strict penalties for various types of marijuana offenses. These penalties are as follows:

Marijuana Possession Penalties

Possession of marijuana can result in various types of offenses, depending on the quantity a person has.

Types of marijuana possession penalties include:

  • In public view: While considered a violation, there is a $200 fine but no incarceration.
  • Up to three ounces: This does not come with a penalty. Therefore, there is no incarceration or fines.
  • Three to eight ounces: This is considered a misdemeanor offense with up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Eight ounces to one pound: This is a felony offense with up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • One pound to 10 pounds: This is considered a felony offense with up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Over 10 pounds: This is a felony offense with up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Marijuana Sale & Trafficking Penalties

For marijuana sale and trafficking penalties, possession of up to three ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of concentrate without compensation does not result in incarceration or fines. However, other offenses do incur penalties.

Types of offenses include but are not limited to:

  • 25 grams or less: This is considered a misdemeanor and comes with up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • 25 grams to four ounces: This is a felony offense with up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Four ounces to one pound: This amount is a felony offense with up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Over one pound: This is a felony offense with up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $15,000.
  • Trafficking any amount: This is a felony offense with between 15 to 25 years of prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Cultivation Penalties

Cultivating up to six plants (three mature) is not considered a criminal offense and does not come with incarceration or fines. However, cultivating more than six plants is considered a misdemeanor with up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

Contact Our Legal Team

Overall, marijuana laws are taken very seriously in New York. Even as individuals apply for cannabis business licenses, there are strict requirements that must be met to ensure compliance with state regulations. Without a license, though, the sale, cultivation, possession, and trafficking of this substance can lead to serious charges.

If you or a loved one are facing marijuana charges, it is crucial to seek legal assistance. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced marijuana lawyers at Musa-Obregon Law PC. We understand the complexities of marijuana laws and what our clients are up against. Our team is dedicated to fighting aggressively on your behalf to pursue a favorable outcome.

Dial (888) 502-8461 to get started or fill out our online form.


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