New York Cannabis License Guidelines

New York Office of Cannabis Management

Licensing and Enforcement Criteria

The New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) was established in 2021 upon the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). The purpose of the MRTA was to implement a regulatory framework for medical as well as adult-use cannabis and hemp in the state of New York to include, but not limited to production, licensing, packaging, marketing and the sale of cannabis.

The MRTA calls for a five-member board to oversee the creation as well as the implementation of the OCM and the appointment of a Chief Equity Officer, who is charged with developing a social equity plan designed to facilitate and support participation by social equity applicants. The MRTA also limits the number of licenses that can be owned by a single company and prohibits the vertical integration of production and retail services, further ensuring that small businesses have an opportunity to compete in the ever-expanding legal cannabis market.

Applicants for the Adult-Use Conditional Processor License must pay a non-refundable $2,000 Application and Licensing Fee to complete their application submission. Applicants are strongly encouraged to read program guidance before applying and submitting payment.

Pursuant to Section 76 of the Cannabis Law, not less than thirty days nor more than 270 days before filing an application for licensure as an adult-use retail dispensary or registered organization adult-use cultivator processor distributor retail dispensary or an on-site consumption licensee, an applicant shall notify the municipality in which the premises is located of such applicant’s intent to file such an application.

The OCM actively promotes the participation of individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition policies, minority and women owned businesses, distressed farmers, and service-disabled veterans.

New York Cannabis Law & Compliance

Several laws and ordinances regulate the New York legal cannabis industry, as well as the many different steps in the supply chain. These laws range over dispositions for cultivators, manufacturers, distributors and retail dispensaries. The most recent news can be found on these websites:


When can I apply for the Adult-Use Conditional Processor License?

Applications are currently closed.  All queues for cultivator, processor, distributor, retail dispensary, and microbusiness applications ended Dec 18, 2023.

What is the Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License?

Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) Licenses will be the first adult-use retail dispensary licenses issued in New York State. The businesses awarded this license (licensees) will be the first to sell adult-use cannabis in New York State.

Licenses will be approved by the Board and issued by the Office.

What are the ownership and control requirements?

For applicants eligible under the qualifying business criteria, one justice involved individual who also has owned at least ten percent of, and controlled, a qualifying business must own at least thirty percent of the applicant and have sole control of the applicant. Other justice involved individuals who did not own and control a qualifying business may also be a part of the ownership group. Justice involved individuals combined must own at least fifty-one percent of the applicant. You must meet these ownership and control requirements to be eligible to apply, and—if selected for licensure—you must continue to meet these requirements for the entire time your dispensary has a conditional adult-use retail dispensary license. If you are eligible under the qualifying non-profit criteria, the ownership and control minimums are different.

If I am not eligible to apply for a CAURD license—or if I apply and I am not awarded a CAURD license—will I be able to get an adult-use retail dispensary license or any other cannabis license in New York?

If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for this license, or your application is not selected to receive a license, you will have the opportunity to apply for an adult-use retail dispensary license in the future. The Cannabis Law outlines many different license types including cultivation, nursery, processing, distribution, delivery, retail dispensary, on-site consumption, cooperatives, and microbusiness. The Office will release regulations outlining the eligibility requirements and selection process for those licenses in the coming months. CAURD will not be the only retail dispensary licenses awarded by the Office. 

Please Note: An applicant may be banned from seeking future licensing opportunities if the applicant commits fraud on their application.

Can I invest in multiple CAURD licenses?

A True Party of Interest (TPI) in a CAURD license can have an interest in up to three adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries. Please monitor the Office’s website for additional information and FAQ related to TPI. 

Please note the Cannabis Law creates a strict two-tier market prohibiting licensees authorized to sell adult-use cannabis at retail from having an interest in any license authorized to cultivate, process, or distribute adult-use cannabis in New York State. Therefore, neither a CAURD licensee nor any of its TPI may have any direct or indirect interest in an adult-use cannabis cultivator, processor, distributor, registered organization, microbusiness, or on-site consumption license, or a permitted laboratory.

I was previously delinquent filing my taxes or paying an amount owed to a local, state, or federal government and I am repaying the debt through a payment plan. Will my application be denied because of this?

No. An individual would not be considered delinquent if they are—at the time of applying—still repaying the debt pursuant to a payment plan or other installment agreement with the government to which the amount is owed. Despite this, it is possible that the circumstances of the delinquency may mean your application would be denied for a different reason, such as if the circumstances of the delinquency would also make the individual a person forbidden to traffic cannabis as set forth in Section 137 of Cannabis Law.

New York Cannabis License Types

Conditional Cultivator

Hemp growers must have been authorized to grow hemp under the Department of Agriculture and Markets Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program and meet certain other requirements in order to qualify. The application window for the Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License approved by the Cannabis Control Board was March 15, 2022 – June 30, 2022

Conditional Processor

Pursuant to the Cannabis Law, adult-use conditional processor licensees will be permitted to process cannabis products containing over 0.3% THC for the Adult-Use Cannabis Program. The license will also be authorized for the distribution of cannabis products to duly licensed adult-use retail dispensaries until June 1, 2023. After June 1, 2023, conditional processors seeking to distribute cannabis products, will be required to apply for a separate distributor license to engage in this activity.


A cannabis research license that permits a licensee to produce, process, purchase and/or possess cannabis for the following limited research purposes:

  • to test chemical potency and composition levels;
  • to conduct clinical investigations of cannabis-derived drug products;
  • to conduct research on the efficacy and safety of administering cannabis as part of medical treatment; and
  • to conduct genomic or agricultural research.


A cooperative license shall authorize the acquisition, possession,  cultivation, processing, distribution and sale from the licensed premises of the adult-use cooperative by such licensee to duly licensed distributors, on-site consumption sites, registered organization and/or retail dispensaries; but not directly to cannabis consumers.


A distributor’s license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, distribution and sale of cannabis from the licensed premises of a licensed adult-use   cultivator, processor, adult-use cooperative, microbusiness, or registered organization authorized pursuant to this chapter to sell adult-use cannabis, to duly licensed retail dispensaries and on-site consumption sites.

No distributor shall have a direct or indirect economic interest in any microbusiness, adult-use retail dispensary, adult-use on-site consumption licensee or in any registered organization registered pursuant to article three of this chapter. This restriction shall not prohibit a registered organization authorized pursuant to section thirty-nine of this chapter, from being granted licensure by the board to distribute adult-use cannabis products cultivated and processed by

the registered organization to licensed adult-use retail dispensaries.


A retail dispensary license shall authorize the acquisition, possession, sale and delivery of cannabis from the licensed premises of the retail dispensary by such licensee to cannabis consumers.

With the exception of delivery or microbusiness licensees; no premises shall be licensed to sell cannabis products, unless said premises shall be located in a store, the principal entrance to which shall be from the street level and located on a public thoroughfare in premises which may be occupied, operated or conducted business, trade or industry.


A microbusiness license shall authorize the limited cultivation, processing, distribution, delivery, and dispensing of their own adult-use cannabis and cannabis products.

The size, scope and eligibility criteria of a microbusiness shall be determined in regulation by the board in consultation with the executive director and the chief equity officer.


A delivery license shall authorize the delivery of cannabis and cannabis products by licensees independent of another adult-use cannabis license, provided that each delivery licensee may have  a  total  of  no  more  than  twenty-five individuals, or the equivalent thereof, providing  full-time  paid  delivery services to cannabis consumers per week under one license.


A nursery license shall authorize the production, sale and distribution of clones, immature plants, seeds, and other agricultural products used specifically for the planting, propagation, and cultivation of cannabis by licensed adult-use cultivators, cooperatives, microbusinesses or registered organizations.

A person or entity holding an adult-use cultivator’s license may apply for, and obtain, one nursery license to sell directly to other cultivators, cooperatives, microbusinesses, or registered organizations.

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