New York defines "delivery" as the direct delivery of cannabis products by a retail licensee, microbusiness licensee, or delivery license holder to a cannabis consumer. A New York delivery license is a license that permits a cannabis establishment in New York to deliver cannabis independent of another licensed activity. A delivery license is often misconstrued with a distributor license, but they are not the same. In New York, licensed cannabis distributors can only sell at wholesale any cannabis product for which a license is required.
The Cannabis Control Board (CCB) will issue a delivery license to a cannabis establishment that qualifies, for the purposes of delivering cannabis and cannabis products to consumers independent of another adult-use cannabis license. A microbusiness license authorizes the limited cultivation, processing, distribution, delivery, and sale of the microbusiness' own adult-use cannabis and cannabis products.
A delivery licensee may deliver cannabis products to adult-use customers using vehicles that are either owned by the licensee or rented from an OCM-registered trucking or transportation business. The size, scope, and eligibility of cannabis delivery licensees will be determined by the Cannabis Control Board. Per the New York Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), the CCB will issue licenses to delivery establishments in a manner that promotes social and economic equity.
Marijuana delivery licenses will be issued by the newly formed Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). The Office of Cannabis Management must draft and approve rules to carry out the state's cannabis legislation before awarding licenses. As a result, the application process and accompanying deadlines for cannabis delivery licenses remain unknown.
While the OCM is not presently accepting new license applications, the MRTA contains some of the OCM's criteria and requirements. For instance, the MRTA requires candidates for cannabis delivery licenses to be 21 years of age or older. Additionally, licenses must be renewed every two years.
New York incorporated the concept of social and economic equity into the MRTA in order to ensure that members of minority groups who have been disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition benefit from legalization.
The social and economic equality initiative intends to offer incentives to those who have been disproportionately harmed by cannabis enforcement, such as minority and women-owned companies, struggling farmers, and injured veterans, in obtaining lucrative licenses. These incentives may include the opportunity to have their application expedited; priority or exclusive access to specified licensing classes or categories; priority access to specific markets; fee reduction or delay; and access to low- or no-interest financing.
Applicants who meet the state's criteria for social and economic equity will also receive counseling, education, small business coaching, and compliance support to aid in the establishment and development of an adult-use cannabis establishment.
Additionally, applicants who are members of a community that has been disproportionately impacted by prior cannabis prohibition enforcement, earn less than 80% of the county's median income, have been convicted of a marijuana offense, or have a close family member who has been convicted will be given preference. Approximately 50% of cannabis business licenses will be awarded to applicants from communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition enforcement.
For social and economic equity applicants, licenses cannot be sold or transferred within the first three years following issue, save with the board's prior written permission. After the three-year term, a social and economic equity applicant may transfer or sell its license, provided that such intention is communicated to the CCB and the licensee repays any outstanding balance on loans given by the Board.
The MRTA advises that a delivery license application be granted in the public interest, taking the following criteria into account, but not limited to:
According to Section 3.1 of the MRTA, applicants seeking cannabis delivery licenses must have a "substantial presence" in New York. Corporations and other legal organizations are required to comply with the following standards:
Section 62.3 of the MRTA requires applicants to state, under penalty of perjury, that their applications are honest. Additionally, they should expect to be questioned on the following:
Note that certain local ordinances may apply and some approvals may be required at the county or municipal levels for a cannabis license application to be successful. The ordinances and approvals vary per the proposed location of the cannabis establishment. Hence, it is recommended that you research the specific regulations, permits, and approvals applicable to your locality before submitting your application to the OCM.
Per Section 76 of the MRTA, a cannabis license applicant in New York is required to inform the municipality in which the cannabis establishment will be situated of the intention to file an application for a cannabis license. The notification must be filed with the municipal clerk, not less than 30 days nor more than 270 days prior to submitting the state licensing application. The notification must follow the Cannabis Control Board's format.
If a local government offers an opinion in favor or against issuing the registration, license, or permit application, that view becomes part of the record on which the Office of Cannabis Management bases its licensure recommendation to the Cannabis Control Board. The Cannabis Control Board will respond in writing to the municipality with an explanation of how such a view was weighed in determining whether to grant or refuse the application.
Applicants who have had their applications denied may apply to the Cannabis Control Board for a review of the decisions in a manner that will be provided by the rules of the Board. By constantly checking the OCM website, you can keep updated about the application window and timeline.
The cost of obtaining a marijuana delivery license in New York is unknown at this time. The fee will remain unknown until the Cannabis Control Board and the Office of Cannabis Management create the rules governing the regulation and operation of the adult-use marijuana industry in the state. However, the MRTA makes it plain that the charge would be non-refundable. Additionally, the Act provides for a fee waiver or reduction for applicants considered social and economic equity applicants.
A cannabis delivery licensee may not possess more than one license. No delivery licensee may be affiliated with or possess another kind of adult-use license. Under one delivery license, no more than 25 people, or the equivalent, may provide full-time compensated delivery services to cannabis customers each week.