On Tuesday, New York State’s Cannabis Control Board (“CCB”) voted to approve the Office of Cannabis Management’s (“OCM”) proposed cannabis regulations. With the CCB’s approval, the OCM announced that it will begin accepting applications through for cultivator, processor, distributor, microbusiness, and retail dispensary licenses on October 4, 2023. Each license can be applied for through New York Business Express portal. The application window will remain open until December 23, 2023.
Following the OCM’s commitment to social equity, Social and Economic Equity applicants (individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by past prohibition, minority or women owned businesses, distressed farmers, and service disabled veterans, “SEE” applicants) will have priority in the application process. SEE applicants will also be eligible for 50% fee reduction in application or licensing fees, and will be eligible for application support and technical training through the Cannabis Hub & Incubator Program (“CHIP”), which will be launching this fall. Those who were issued conditional licenses, such as Adult Use Conditional Cultivators and Adult Use Conditional Processors, will now be able to apply for full, non-conditional licenses.
Importantly, the approved regulations also implement a two-tier system, a Registered Organization (“RO”) Application, and a Cannabis Research License Application. The two-tier system prevents licensees on the supply side from having more than a minimal financial interest in businesses on the retail side of the market. The RO Application allows those already licensed as a medical cannabis provider to enter the adult-use market. Finally, the Cannabis Research License will allow the production, process, and/or possession of cannabis for research purpose. This research license will hopefully lead to the discovery of additional medicinal and therapeutic use cases for cannabis.