What Are The Different Types of New York Cannabis Licenses?

New York Cannabis Market

If you are considering starting a cannabis-related products business in New York, knowing which license is required to make your business legal is essential. New York has 11 different types of marijuana licenses, so it’s hard to understand them all at once.

Here we have covered almost all cannabis license types in New York and which things you should consider when applying for a license.

If you are interested to know, check the details below!

Adult-use Conditional Processor License

In the state of New York, you have the option to apply for an adult-use conditional processor license. The process is similar to applying for a medical marijuana license in that it’s a two-step application process:

  • First, you’ll need to submit your application package and all required documents and fees.
  • After receiving approval from the Department of Health (“DOH”), you will be asked to attend an interview scheduled during one of their regular office hours at one of their offices located throughout New York City or Albany County.

Adult-use Conditional Cultivator License

A conditional cultivator license is an intermediate-level license that allows you to grow, process, and sell cannabis products in New York state. The Cannabis Control Board has issued more than 200 of these licenses, with many going to small-scale farmers who want to grow their cannabis plants but not sell them on the market.

Conditional licenses are generally only available to those with a production facility or nursery license (a commercial-level cultivation license). 

To qualify for this type of permit, you need a medical marijuana ID card from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. If you don’t have one yet, be sure to apply before applying for your conditional cultivator’s license.

Adult-use On-site Consumption

Adult-use On-site Consumption (AUSC) is the most common type of New York cannabis license and allows you to consume cannabis in a public place. It is the way to go if you want to consume your stuff in public.

To get this license, you must be 21 or older and live within one mile of the premises where you plan on operating your business. With any other license type, there are restrictions on who can enter these types of businesses, only those 21 years or older.

Adult-use Cooperative

A cooperative is a business that is owned and controlled by its members. A cooperative’s members are the business owners who elect or appoint a board to oversee day-to-day operations. 

Coops can be for-profit or not-for-profit organizations. They may also be incorporated as corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), limited partnerships (LPs), trusts, and other legal entities.

If you’re interested in starting your cannabis cooperative, here’s how it works: 

  • You’ll need to obtain an initial membership fee from each person who wants to join your growing enterprise.
  • Then pay annual dues once per year after that, depending on the type of membership category they choose.

Adult-use Retail Dispensary

Adult-use retail dispensary licenses must be registered entities in the state. You can apply for this license from the Department of Health (DOH).

To get the license, you must have a retail store that sells only cannabis products for adults 21 and older, along with accessories such as pipes, bongs, and rolling papers (no smoking utensils). The location must be within 500 feet of a school or public playground, daycare center, youth center, or other facilities where children congregate.

The dispensary also must have security plans approved by DOH before opening its doors and update them every six months. That includes cameras recording activity inside and outside entrances/exits/windows and alarms on all doors leading into rooms where cash registers are located. 

Need help applying for a cannabis import or export permit?

Adult-use Delivery

Delivery is a cannabis delivery service provided by licensed New York state-licensed businesses. Delivery drivers must have a license and must be at least 21 years old with a valid driver’s license and medical cannabis card. In addition to this requirement, the delivery driver must also pass an FBI background check before being hired as part of their company’s security protocol.

Adult-use Distributor License

A distributor license is for individuals who wish to transport cannabis products between licensees. The primary purpose of this type of license is to ensure that all aspects of the distribution chain are properly monitored and controlled by government agencies, ensuring safety for both consumers and employees alike.

A distributor must have a physical address within New York State and be licensed by the state, city, or county where they operate as an adult-use dispensary, grower, manufacturer, or processor.

Adult-use Micro Business

Adult-use micro businesses are a new type of cannabis business that the state will license through the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. These licenses allow up to five cultivation and processing sites, including retail outlets.

The requirements for adult-use micro-businesses include an application fee and background check fee, which must be paid before being granted an adult-use micro-business license. 

Adult-use Processor License

An adult-use processor license allows the licensee to process cannabis into cannabis-infused products.

A processor license is required before a licensee can sell cannabis-infused products. If the applicant does not have this license, they must purchase it from a manufacturer or distributor. However, an adult-use processor license isn’t necessary if you plan on making all your products and selling them directly at retail locations (such as dispensaries).

Adult-use Nursery License

A nursery license is for businesses that want to grow and sell plants, seeds, and other items used to grow cannabis. The term “nursery” refers to consumers’ business model of increasing small amounts of cannabis for personal use.

A nursery can be either a stand-alone location or part of another kind of licensed premises such as cultivation rooms or grow spaces within licensed facilities.

Adult-use Cultivator License

A cultivator is a person who grows cannabis for sale. The cultivator license allows you to grow up to 25 plants and gives you the right to process and distribute your product.

You must have a valid state sales tax ID number. This requirement isn’t enforced by the department of taxation but rather by local authorities who check if businesses are actually paying their taxes before issuing them permits. 

You must be 21 years old at least one month before approval from city officials and then apply for an adult-use cultivation permit with NYC Health Department; otherwise, this type of license cannot be obtained by anyone under 21.


Hopefully, your concept of a Cannabis License in New York will be much clearer after reading the article. Remember that to apply for any license, you must follow the legal process, so make sure to consult an attorney.

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