New York Marijuana Nursery License

Interested in starting a Cannabis business in New York?

What Is a Marijuana Nursery in New York?

A cannabis nursery, as defined in Section 3-35 of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), is a cultivator that produces only clones, immature plants, seeds, and other agricultural products for the propagation, planting, and cultivation of cannabis by licensed adult-use cannabis cultivators, cooperatives, microbusinesses, and registered organizations.

Does New York License Marijuana Nursery Establishments?

The Cannabis Control Board (CCB) will issue nursery licenses to qualifying cannabis establishments, authorizing the production, distribution, and sale of clones, immature plants, seeds, and other agricultural products used exclusively for the propagation, planting, and cultivation of cannabis by licensed adult-use cultivators, microbusinesses, cooperatives, or registered organizations.

The size, scope, and eligibility of cannabis nursery 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 cannabis nurseries in a manner that promotes social and economic equity.

How to Apply for a Marijuana Nursery License in New York

The newly created Office of Cannabis Management will grant marijuana distribution licenses (OCM). Before issuing licenses, the Office of Cannabis Management must create and adopt rules to carry out the state's cannabis legislation. As a result, the application procedure for cannabis production licenses and associated dates remain uncertain.

While the OCM is not accepting new license applications at the moment, the MRTA incorporates some of the OCM's criteria and standards. For example, the MRTA mandates that applicants for cannabis nursery licenses be at least 21 years of age. Furthermore, licenses must be renewed every two years.

Additionally, the MRTA requires the OCM to develop regulations outlining the criteria for awarding a license to a particular application. These conditions may include the following, but are not limited to:

  • The applicant is considered a social and economic equity applicant.
  • The applicant will be capable of properly regulating illicit cannabis trafficking.
  • The applicant represents and warrants that he or she will comply with all relevant federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
  • The applicant and representatives are prepared, willing, and capable of carrying out the activities for which a license is requested.
  • The applicant either possesses or has the right to utilize sufficient land, buildings, and equipment to carry out the application's specified activity appropriately or has a plan to do so if they qualify as a social and economic equity applicant.
  • The applicant must either meet the standards for social and economic fairness or demonstrate a commitment to assisting communities and persons who are disproportionately impacted by cannabis law enforcement.

New York integrated the notion of social and economic equity into the MRTA in order to ensure that people of minority groups have disproportionately benefited from cannabis legalization.

The effort for social and economic equity aims to aid people who have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement, such as minority and women-owned businesses, struggling farmers, and disabled veterans, in securing lucrative licenses. These incentives may include the ability to accelerate their application; priority or exclusive access to particular license classes or categories; priority access to specific markets; fee reduction or delay; and access to low- or no-interest financing.

Additionally, applicants who are members of a community that has been disproportionately impacted by prior cannabis prohibition enforcement, who earn less than 80% of the county's median income, who have been convicted of a marijuana offense, or who have a close family member who has been convicted will receive preference. Around 50% of cannabis company licenses will be given to applicants from neighborhoods that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition enforcement.

For persons considered social and economic equity applicants, licenses cannot be sold or transferred during the first three years after issuance, except with the board's prior written permission. After the three-year interval, a social and economic equity applicant may sell or transfer the 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 of New York advises that a nursery license application be granted in the public interest, considering the following criteria into mind, but not limited to:

  • That marijuana cultivation, processing, transportation, distribution, and sale for adult use are considered privileges, not rights
  • The total number and kind of cannabis licenses in the applicant's local area, as well as the municipality or subdivision
  • Evidence that all necessary licenses and permits have been received or will be obtained from the state and any other applicable regulatory authorities
  • Effects of the license on pedestrian and vehicular traffic, as well as adjacent parking
  • The property's existing noise level and any additional noise generated by the proposed business
  • Capacity to reduce negative environmental impacts such as water use, energy consumption, and carbon emissions
  • The effect on the production and availability of cannabis
  • Any other legal or regulatory issues pertinent to evaluating whether providing a license is in the public convenience and advantage, as well as the public interest of the community
  • The applicant and its management executives have a good moral character and do not own or control more licenses or permits than the MRTA allows
  • The applicant has entered into a labor peace agreement with a genuine labor organization actively representing or seeking to represent the applicant's employees, and compliance with the labor peace agreement's provisions is a critical condition of licensing. When assessing applications from businesses with 25 or more workers, the OCM must prioritize applicants who are parties to collective bargaining agreements with bona fide labor organizations in New York or another state and who construct their licensed facility utilizing union labor
  • The applicant will advocate for communities and individuals who have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis law enforcement through the OCM

Additionally, the application must comply with any additional OCM criteria; and, if the applicant is a registered organization, the applicant must demonstrate the establishment's continuous efforts to cultivate, distribute, and/or study medical cannabis in preparation for certification.

Applicants for cannabis nursery licenses must have a "significant presence" in New York, according to Section 3.1 of the MRTA. Corporations and other legal entities must adhere to the following standards:

  • They have their main office in New York
  • Be founded (or otherwise organized) in conformity with applicable New York State laws
  • Have a majority of their ownership as New York residents

Section 62.3 of the MRTA requires applicants to certify, under penalty of perjury, that their applications are truthful. Furthermore, they should anticipate being questioned on the following:

  • Race and ethnic origin information
  • Ownership and investment information (including corporate structure)
  • Proof of moral integrity (including fingerprinting)
  • Financial statements

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 been denied in their applications can apply to the Cannabis Control Board for a review of such decisions in a manner to be provided by the rules of the Board. By checking the OCM website frequently, you may stay informed about the application window and schedule.

How Much Does a Marijuana Nursery License Cost in New York?

It is not yet known what the cost for a marijuana nursery license would be in New York. The fee will be made known when the Cannabis Control Board and the Office of Cannabis Management promulgate the rules governing the regulations, license applications, and the operations of the adult-use marijuana industry in the state. However, contained in the MRTA are instructions clarifying that the fee for cannabis licenses in New York are non-refundable. Additionally, the Act provides for a fee waiver or reduction for applicants considered social and economic equity applicants.

Can Marijuana Nursery Licensees Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in New York?

According to Section 75 of the MRTA, a cannabis nursery licensee in New York may only apply for and hold a nursery license for the purpose of selling to other growers, cooperatives, or microbusinesses. New York’s adult-use cannabis law also allows for an adult-use cultivator licensee to apply for, and hold, a nursery license.

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New York Marijuana Nursery License