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New York


The responsibility of issuing licenses for businesses to participate in the adult-use and medical cannabis industries falls under the purview of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). By mid-2021, the OCM is expected to release and implement regulations governing the application process for various types of licenses.

The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will actively support social and economic equity applicants who have been affected by the prohibition of cannabis. The OCM aims to award 50% of licenses to social and economic equity applicants and will take measures to promote their participation in the industry.

Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License owners will open the first retail dispensaries to open for legal adult-use cannabis sales in New York State, establishing businesses owned by justice-involved individuals at the bedrock of New York’s adult-use cannabis market. The Office anticipates receiving many applications for the CAURD license. Not all applicants will be approved. To obtain a license, applicants must meet all eligibility requirements and submit a competitive application. Read more about the CAURD license on the OCM website.

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New York has a relatively recent history of cannabis legalization. The state first legalized medical marijuana in 2014, allowing patients with qualifying medical conditions to access and use cannabis for medical purposes.

In March 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which legalized the possession and use of recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and over. The law allows for adults to possess up to three ounces of marijuana, or an equivalent amount of cannabis products, and to cultivate up to six plants for personal use.

Retail sales of recreational marijuana are expected to begin in 2022, with regulations being developed and licenses being issued in the interim. New York has also taken steps to promote social equity in the cannabis industry, such as allocating a portion of cannabis tax revenue towards social justice initiatives and prioritizing licenses for those from communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. The state has also implemented measures to expunge criminal records for individuals with non-violent cannabis-related offenses. Overall, New York has embraced cannabis legalization and regulation, allowing for both medical and recreational use while also promoting social equity in the industry.

LAST UPDATED 5/10/2023 – It’s important to remember that laws can be revised and updated frequently, so please keep this in mind.