After months of anticipation, the New York State Office of Cannabis Management began accepting applications for five (5) types of licenses this week: cultivator, processor, distributor, and microbusiness. This is generally how the process will work:

  1. The application window will remain open for all license types until December 4, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET.  
  2. The Cannabis Control Board has discretion to determine the final number of licenses that will be issued, however, the following estimates have been released:
    • Retail Dispensary: 500 – 1000 (Applications submitted for retail dispensary licenses, including both provisional and final, will be categorized evenly between New York City and the rest of the state)
    • Microbusiness: 220
    • Indoor Cultivation (Tier 1): 20
    • Indoor Cultivation (Tier 2): 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, Office will review on a rolling basis
    • Distributor: 30
  3. Retail Dispensaries and microbusinesses have the option of applying for “Provisional Licenses” without proof of control of the proposed licensed premises through the December 4th deadline. Provisional Licensees will have twelve (12) months from the date the provisional license is issued to complete the licensing application.
  4. Retail dispensary and microbusiness applicants with proof of control of the proposed licensed premises may participate in an expedited review by submitting their complete application by November 3, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET.
  5. After the close of each application period, the department will place applicants in categories based on license type and Social and Economic Equity (SEE) status and utilize a randomized process to place them in a “queue” for review.
  6. SEE priority of review is divided into two categories:
  7. Priority review will be provided to applicants in one of the following SEE groups:
    • Individual from a Community Disproportionately Impacted
    • Distressed farmer
    • Service-disabled veteran-owned business
    • Minority-owned businesses
    • Women-owned businesses
  8. Extra priority review will be provided to applicants who meet ALL of the following:
    • Is a member of a community disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition;
    • Has an income lower than eighty percent (80%) of the median income of the county in which the applicant resides; and
    • Was convicted of a cannabis-related offense prior to the effective date of the MRTA, or had a parent, guardian, child, spouse, or dependent, or was a dependent of an individual who, prior to March 31, 2021, was convicted of a cannabis-related offense.

Our team is currently assisting clients in navigating the application process in New York. Please reach out to Steve Levine, Alyssa Samuel, or another Husch Blackwell attorney with additional questions.