Here are some FAQs about the process for obtaining a recreational cannabis license in the Empire State. Future FAQs will examine specific adult-use license types and rules concerning equity applicants.
(Editor’s Note: Parentheticals cite to the relevant MRTA sections (§ = section).)
As of the date of this posting . . . not yet!
By the way, the types of adult-use licenses, listed in this June 16, 2021 posting by the Office of Cannabis Management, will be the subject of a later blog post. Note the disclaimer in the posting:
Please be aware, before the OCM can issue adult-use cannabis licenses several foundational tasks will need to be completed, including appointing the Cannabis Control Board, issuing and adopting regulations, hiring and training OCM staff, and creating [a] process for issuing, accepting and awarding licenses.
The timeline is not yet clear. Unfortunately, further details are not yet available as key regulatory positions have not yet been filled.
By submitting a written application to the Cannabis Control Board containing “such information as the board shall require.” (§ 61) Helpful, right? The Office of Cannabis Management website is a courteous “check back later” sign. So, for now, we will be textualists and look exclusively to the MRTA statute for answers.
We do not know yet. (As a frame of reference, NY Medical Marijuana applicants are required to submit a $10,000 non-refundable fee and a refundable registration fee in the amount of $20,000. Hemp retail and distributor permit fees are much cheaper.)
Here is what we do know:
This is a key business decision with no one-size-fits-all answer: we recommend that you consult with a cannabis attorney. MRTA contemplates that an applicant may be an individual, sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation.
The statute offers the following non-exclusive list:
Applicants will be required to affirm that their application is true under penalty of perjury (§ 62.3).
The statute once again offers a non-exclusive list of selection criteria that the Board will consider. This includes whether the applicant is an equity applicant or has set forth a plan for benefiting communities and people disproportionally impacted by enforcement of cannabis laws). (§§ 64.1.a, f and j)
Other notable criteria include:
Yes, you can expect that applicants will be required to provide financing statements (§ 62.2)
The Board will implement “rules and regulations that are designed to . . . establish application, licensing, and permitting processes which ensure all material owners and interest holders are disclosed . . .” (emphasis added) (§ 13.3.h)
And sprinkled throughout MRTA are restrictions on having “direct or indirect financial or controlling interest” in multiple licenses and in multiple types of licenses. For example, section 69.5: “No adult-use cannabis processor shall have a direct or indirect interest, including by stock ownership, interlocking directors, mortgage or lien, personal or real property, management agreement, share parent companies or affiliated organizations or any other means, in any premises licensed as an adult-use cannabis retail dispensary or in any business licensed as an adult-use cannabis retail dispensary . . .”).
Yes, subject to future rules and regulations.
Specifically, section 67 addresses transfers of 51% or more in ownership and organizational structure:
Other sections in MRTA address the transferability of equity licenses (§ 87.7) and hemp licenses (§ 100), but details are still lacking.
No. The statute authorizes the Board “to grant some or all [medical marijuana companies] the ability to obtain adult-use cannabis licenses” (§ 39).
However, according to this Office of Cannabis Management publication, a registered organization (i.e. medical marijuana company) may not have an interest in or own any other adult-use license type. Instead, medical marijuana company can get adult-use license privileges through a “registered organization adult-use cultivator processor distributor retail dispensary license” or a “registered organization adult-use cultivator processor distributor license.” The timing and manner of a registered organization’s participation in the adult-use market will be determined by the Cannabis Control Board.
Individual applicants must have “a significant presence” in New York. Corporations and other legal entities must:
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