Skip links

Cannabis Licenses in New York (NY)

Cannabis Licenses in New York (NY)

Since its legalization in March of 2021, the marijuana industry in New York state has been one of the fastest growing legal cannabis markets in the U.S. Under the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA), the legalization of recreational marijuana now opens a plethora of opportunities for individuals and businesses to obtain cannabis licenses in NY. Still, there is much to know and learn about the regulations, requirements, compliance, and various types of licenses available. For any prospective cannabis business looking to set up shop in New York, here’s what you need to know.

Cannabis License NY

What is a Registered Organization?

In order to legally sell cannabis in New York, you must be part of a Registered Organization (RO). Dispensaries sell legal cannabis to responsible adults, who must remain in compliance with any state regulations. Under the MRTA, any New York dispensary is recognized as an RO, of which there are currently five. Here’s a breakdown of what makes a Registered Organization:

Registered Organizations in New York consist of (1) manufacturing/cultivation facility, and (4) dispensary locations. All of these RO’s will be selling medical marijuana products approved in regulation, offered in the following forms:

  • Oil or liquid preparations for metered oromucosal or sublingual administration
  • Metered oil or liquid preparations by vaporization
  • Oral capsules
  • All further or future routes of administration approved under state regulation

For the protection of the public’s safety and health, all RO’s in New York state are required to meet a standard of quality for their products, which must be tested for profile, as well as for contaminants or pesticides. New York state regulations on hemp sale also require that organizations provide a department-approved package safety insert to patients when selling medical marijuana.

What Licenses are Needed for Dispensaries in New York?

Below are the various types of New York State cannabis licenses available:


Cultivator – NY growers licenses for cultivators allow for the acquisition and possession of cannabis for distribution and cultivation, as well as personal use. A cultivator may not hold more than one cultivator license and cannot own a cannabis retail licensee.


Nursery – A nursery license allows individuals to legally produce, sell, and distribute immature plants, seeds, clones, and other agricultural products that are used for the planting, propagation, and cultivation of cannabis.


Distributor – With a distributor’s license, individuals can acquire, possess, distribute, and sell from licensed premises of a processor, cooperative, microbusiness, or registered organization.

Processor – This New York dispensary license is much like a distributor, but it’s often used for those who wish to distribute their own made products.

Cooperative – A cooperative license has all of the access of a distributor or processor, but individuals can not sell straight to cannabis purchasers.

Microbusiness – A microbusiness license is similar to a distributor or processor, but set to much smaller limits.


Retail Dispensary – A retail dispensary license allows an individual to acquire, possess, sell, and deliver cannabis to consumers from a licensed retail dispensary.


On-site Consumption – This license allows for the acquisition, possession, and sale of cannabis to consumers for use at an on-site consumption location.


Delivery – A delivery license authorizes individuals to deliver cannabis products to consumers.

How to Obtain Cannabis Licenses in NY

The only way to become a Registered Organization is to apply for any one of the licenses available by the state. There is a strict admissions process that must be thoroughly understood and followed. Some criteria that a business must meet include:

  • Sufficient facility space or land
  • Ability to maintain proper security
  • Entering into a labor peace agreement
  • Compliance with all state laws
  • Authorization to grow hemp under the Department of Agriculture and Markets Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program
  • Prior history of producing or selling cannabinoid or “CBD hemp” for two of the past four years (between 2018 – 2021) with proper documentation

New York state has also announced that they will be prioritizing applicants with prior marijuana-related convictions in efforts to give them first access to sales permits. 100-200 retail licenses will be reserved and awarded by the state to those who have been the most affected by previous cannabis laws. Priority will also be given to organizations and business leaders with parents, legal guardians, children, or spouses with marijuana-related charges.

Marijuana License Arizona
Arizona Cultivation License

New York State Cannabis License Requirements

  1. Applicant Primary Contact Information
  2. Applicant Business Location
  3. Applicant ownership and financial disclosure information including submission of organizational structure documents, organizational charts, capitalization tables and ownership structures, and disclosures of any sources or proposed sources of capital
  4. Documentation proving the applicant was authorized to cultivate cannabinoid or “CBD” hemp under the Department of Agriculture and Markets
  5. Documentation proving the applicant grew cannabinoid or “CBD” hemp under the Department of Agriculture & Markets for two of the past four years
  6. A cultivation and site plan for each proposed location to grow, harvest, dry, store or handle cannabis including the submission of floor plans, diagrams, GPS coordinates and an aerial photograph of the premise
  7. Applicant attestation and agreement of the conditional licenses Terms and Conditions
  8. Submission of non-refundable License and Application Fee of $2,000

As a result of the MRTA, New York has established the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), which will regulate and control the cultivation, processing, manufacture, distribution, transportation, and sale of cannabis in New York.

New York Cannabis Software

At 365 Cannabis, we stay on top of compliance with integrations into state regulatory systems, and are closely monitoring any further developments within New York state. As an ACMPR Compliance Software, we offer compliance solutions and checklist protocols throughout delivery to assist your organization every step of the way. In cases where integration to the regulatory tracking system is an option, 365 Cannabis will facilitate integration so that dual entry is minimized and efficiencies are realized.

Learn more about our products or services, or contact us today for any questions or comments.

Want to learn more about 365 Cannabis?

Register for our Webinar