New York opening license application window for marijuana business licenses

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New York regulators on Wednesday will launch an application window for several types of marijuana business licenses, with a priority on social and economic equity (SEE) applicants.

SEE applicants include those “from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of past prohibition, minority- and women-owned businesses, distressed farmers, and service-disabled veterans,” according to the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).

The OCM plans to issue as many as 1,500 licenses for cultivation, retail, processing and microbusinesses.

The vast majority – between 500 and 1,000 – are designated for retail dispensaries.

Here’s a breakdown on the approximate number of other licenses that will be issued:

  • 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 white-labeling agreements): no cap.
  • Distributor: 30.

In addition to the opening of the general license application, currently operational Adult-Use Conditional Cultivators (AUCCs) and Conditional Processors (AUCPs) will also be able to apply for full, non-conditional licenses.

Regulators are also encouraging Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensees and applicants to apply during the Oct. 4-Dec. 4 window.

The vast majority of CAURD holders and applicants are in a holding pattern after an August ruling by a New York judge that halted all business applications and approvals to open adult-use stores in the state.

Regulators plan to disclose information soon on the application window for multistate operators with New York medical cannabis licenses.

The state’s 10 vertically integrated MSOs, which are referred to as “registered organizations,” filed a lawsuit in March against the OCM and Cannabis Control Board in an attempt to gain quick entry into New York’s recreational marijuana market.

New York regulators decided against implementing a merit-based system for issuing licenses and instead opted for a lottery-style, “random order queuing process.

They also kept application fees relatively low, with SEE applicants charged $500 and general applicants $1,000.

Chris Casacchia can be reached at