Retail Marijuana Licensing
ComplianceAugust 31, 2022

How to get a marijuana grow license in New York

Hemp growers in New York can legally apply for a license to grow cannabis in the state.

On February 22, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law S.8084-A/A.9283-A, creating a new Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator license that authorizes eligible hemp growers to apply for a license to grow cannabis containing over 0.3% THC for the adult-use market.

To be eligible for the license, a hemp grower must be authorized to grow hemp under the Department of Agriculture and Markets Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program and meet certain other requirements.

The application window for the Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License approved by the Cannabis Control Board was from March 15, 2022, through June 30, 2022.

If you want to apply for a New York growers license as soon as the state allows new applicants, the following information may be useful.

Cannabis vs. hemp

Hemp and adult-use cannabis are both derived from the marijuana plant but are classified differently. Hemp is considered a variety of cannabis that contains 0.3% or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Adult-use cannabis and medical cannabis can contain more than 0.3% THC – which induces a feeling of being high.

Although cannabis use is illegal under federal law, its recreational use is legal in 18 states and Washington D.C. The state of New York legalized recreational cannabis in March 2021. Cannabis is also authorized for medical purposes in 27 states.

In 2018, Congress legalized hemp growing if the plants do not contain more than 0.3% of THC (dry weight).

What are the requirements for the adult-use conditional cultivator license in New York?

According to the New York Office of Cannabis Management, to be eligible for an Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License in New York, you must meet all the requirements below:

  • Authorized to grow hemp under the Department of Agriculture and Markets Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program.
  • In good standing with the Department of Agriculture and Markets.
  • Authorized by the Department of Agriculture and Markets to grow cannabinoid or “CBD hemp” as opposed to growing hemp for grain or fiber.
  • Have been authorized to grow and harvest cannabinoid or “CBD hemp” for two of the past four years (between 2018 - 2021) and be able to provide the Office with proof documenting such activities.
  • Hold at least a 51% or more ownership in the entity that held the industrial hemp grower authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

In addition, the state of New York requires that marijuana growers adhere to post-application and ongoing requirements. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Operating plan. Within six months of receiving a cultivation license, you must submit a business Operating Plan as outlined by the New York Office of Cannabis Management.
  • Cultivation report. One year after issuance, you must submit an Annual Cultivation Report to the Office. The report must also be available upon request.
  • Inspection. The Office maintains the right to inspect the facilities where your cannabis operations are taking place.
  • Sampling and testing. All raw cannabis product (flower) is subject to random sampling by the Office, or a party designated by the Office. The Office may provide updated sampling and testing guidance and regulations, including mandating requirements related to batch sizes, testing thresholds, and sampling procedures. As a licensee, you are responsible for all related sampling and testing costs, as well as ensuring that standards are met.
  • Traceability. In time for the growing season, you must have or develop an on-premises based identification and traceability system that allows the cannabis product to be traced back to your business and specific production site, to the block and bed level, and traced along the supply chain to the next distribution point. You must be able to link harvested cannabis product by batch number or harvest date to the production records.
  • Mentorship Program. As a condition of licensure, you must participate in a social and economic equity mentorship program, as determined by the Office. The Office will outline program standards and conditions. As a cultivator, you may be asked to participate in a range of activities, including but not limited to pre-program surveys, mentorship activities, and related data reporting.

How much does the adult-use conditional cultivator license cost?

There is a $2,000 licensing fee for a NY adult-use conditional cultivator license.

When does the current adult-use conditional cultivator license expire?

An adult-use conditional cultivator license is valid for no more than two years, expiring at the latest on June 30, 2024.

How do I get a license to grow hemp in New York?

If you intend to grow hemp for fiber, grain, CBD, or other purposes, you must apply to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. There are three types of commercial licenses available

  • Hemp Grower License: Authorizes the growth, cultivation, and handling of hemp plant material for market and is valid for three years.
  • Nursery Grower License: Authorizes the sale of rooted hemp plants or seedlings. The license term is two years.
  • Hemp Seed Retail License: Authorizes the sale of hemp seeds for a term of three years.

As part of the application process, you must complete an FBI Identity History Summary Check.

Once you’ve obtained a hemp grower’s license, you must keep up with reporting, recordkeeping, sampling, and testing requirements.

CT Corporation can help

Outsourcing business registration and license research, applications, management, and renewals can help you take the pressure off internal resources. By working with a full-service management provider who specializes in the efficient processing of business licenses you can free up your time to focus on starting and growing your marijuana or hemp cultivation business while ensuring you keep up with changing compliance requirements.

For more information on CT Corporation services and how we can streamline your business licensing, please contact us or call us at (844) 701-2064.

The CT Corporation staff is comprised of experts, offering global, regional, and local expertise on registered agent, incorporation, and legal entity compliance.

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