New York Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS NEW YORK'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
In the state of New York only medical cannabis is legal with roughly 38 dispensaries and 40 registered organizations. A registered organization is an entity authorized to manufacture and dispense medical cannabis with a limitation of four dispensaries. As of May 2020 there are 115,586 registered patients and 2,723 registered medical practitioners. As the law currently stands, consumption is only allowed through vape pens, tinctures, or other sublingually administered products, e.g. capsules, tablets, lozenges. Topicals such as transdermal patches, lotions and ointments are allowed, however, smoking and edibles are prohibited.
Governor Cuomo tried to legalize adult-use cannabis through the budget in 2019 but failed due to lawmakers not agreeing on certain aspects, such as where the tax revenue would be allocated to. Governor Cuomo had intended to achieve adult-use cannabis legalization through the 2020 budget but the timeline of COVID-19 progressing in New York as the budget needed to be finalized, halted the efforts needed to push marijuana through.
WHAT ARE NEW YORK'S CANNABIS LAWS?
In July 2014, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Compassionate Care Act allowing patients with specific qualified conditions the use of medical cannabis to alleviate symptoms. The medical cannabis program regulations only allow the use of non-smokable cannabis products; prohibits patients from growing at home; and heavily limits the number of dispensaries.
On July 29, 2019, decriminalization and expungement efforts were increased when Governor Cuomo signed A08420/S06579 into law. Under the new law, previous possession of cannabis arrests and convictions for amounts of two ounces and less would be automatically expunged, including those that occurred prior to decriminalization. Additionally, fines for possession of one ounce (28 grams) or less was lowered from $100 to $50. Possession of up to two ounces (56 grams) was lowered from a misdemeanor to no more than a $200 fine.
WHAT IS NEW YORK'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
New York does not have an open cannabis business licensing application at this time. You cannot currently apply for a license in New York and there is no foreseeable timeline due to COVID-19 pandemic delaying the passage of adult-use cannabis legislation.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN NEW YORK?
Cannabis decriminalization efforts started early in New York with the state decriminalizing possession of 25 grams or less in 1977. If found with under 25 grams of cannabis, the infraction was a small fine of $100. However, possession in public view remained a misdemeanor until the late 90’s, when police began to exploit to obtain more convictions. Between 1997 and 2010, law enforcement arrested 525,000 people for public view possession with more than 80% of those arrests being of black and latino heritage causing outrage for lawmakers and civil rights lawyers.
New York's cannabis legalization journey began in 2014 when Governor Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act into law. Under the act, non-smokable forms of cannabis such as vaping, oils, tinctures and topicals were approved for use by registered medical cannabis patients. The conditions list to qualify as a medical patient is limited, but most recently Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was added to the list, which has increased the legal use of medical cannabis throughout the state.
Although adult-use, recreational cannabis remains illegal in New York, Governor Cuomo and other state officials have continuously vocalized their support. Cuomo had intentions of passing adult-use cannabis through both the 2019 and 2020 budget but issues of where tax revenue would be allocated and a shift in focus to prioritize the COVID-19 pandemic left both initiatives unsuccessful. Senator Liz Krueger believes legalization is still possible in 2020 through her bill the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act.
DOES NEW YORK HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
New York State is emerging as a potentially significant producer of commercial and industrial hemp on the global market. It is already generating nearly $600 million per year nationally and has the potential to grow several times over in the years to come. The New York Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program now has 99 processors registered, 537 growers, and 19 combined growers and processors. Altogether, the program has over 25,000 acres of registered hemp production.
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE NEW YORK CANNABIS MARKET?
With state officials strongly supporting adult-use, recreational cannabis in New York, now is the time to begin the development process of your potential cannabis business. Contact Point7 today to discuss the crucial steps that can be taken prior to legalization to ensure you are ahead of the curve when the initiative passes.