How to Improve Your Chances of Selling Cannabis In New York

You’ve Secured A Provisional License – Let’s Open Your Doors

The New York cannabis licensing process may be one of the biggest hurdles for any cannabis business, and one of the lengthiest when you consider New York’s tumultuous rollout of its new adult-use program, but it is by no means the end. In fact, many licensed cannabis operations don’t even get to the point of opening their doors for operations. So how you can improve your chances of selling your cannabis flower and cannabis-based products? How can you as a prospective license applicant, or a recent winner of a cannabis license, plan ahead accordingly for long term success in New York?

Here are some tips to make sure you get that first sale.


1) Real Estate – Understand Cannabis Property Requirements

Do I need a New York property to apply? Well, maybe. One of the crucial things for any cannabis business is where the business is going to be located. New York has thrown some curveballs our way during its licensing roll out (more on this point later), but we know now that a property is mandatory for most of the cannabis business license types (cultivation, processing, and distribution). However, property is only recommended for the application process for retailers and microbusinesses.

Apply Early With Property For Expedited Application Review

If you have a property set for your retail dispensary or microbusiness, great! You will be prioritized and if you apply before November 17th, your application can receive an expedited review process. If not, don’t worry because you still have until December 18th to apply.

No Property for Your Cannabis Business? Now Is The Time To Find One

Those without property can be awarded a provisional license and will then have a year to secure their final license prior to operations. This will mean you have a year to then find a property, otherwise your provisional license will expire.

However, in states which have awarded provisional or conditional licenses in the past prior to being awarded an operating license, we have seen high number of provisional licensees with a significantly lower conversion rate to final licensure, in no small part thanks to awardees not finding the ideal property. So, if you haven’t secured a property, start looking as soon as possible to nail this down.

2) Updates – Follow The New York Office of Cannabis Management

This may seem self-explanatory, and maybe (hopefully!) you are already doing this, but the surest and arguably simplest way to ensure your doors open in a timely matter is by staying on top of what the New York Office of Cannabis Management is doing. The state agency has bountiful amounts of information available online already, including FAQs, license type two-pagers, access to the finalized regulations, and the option to sign up for email updates.

Be sure to follow OCM on social media platforms too, especially through their LinkedIn account, along with other New York based consultants, attorneys, and other state insiders to see their posts and updates on everything the state is up to. This can also be vital to staying prepared if there are any lawsuits which are occurring that could potentially stall the state’s roll (New York is already very familiar with this).

Finally, be sure to attend Cannabis Control Board and Cannabis Advisory Board planning meetings, and don’t be afraid to reach out to the state via phone or email for updates too.

3) Business Plans – Prepare The Unique Plans Now Required

The application itself for New York certainly isn’t the lengthiest application we’ve encountered, and the Office did this intentionally to appeal to as many prospective applicants as possible. With that said, more is going to be needed prior to opening your doors or before the renewal of your license.

In addition to background checks and fingerprinting for select true parties of interest, you will need to submit a bevy of different plans for your business as detailed in the regulations. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Operating Plan
  • Energy and Environmental Plan
  • Community Impact and Community Outreach Plan
  • Staffing Plan

If you want to open your doors sooner (or at all), its best to organize and prepare you plans or risk having to wait a potentially long while before you can open.

4) Local Government – Learn Compliance Details and Partner Now

Know Your Local New York Regulations

Everything boils down to a local level in cannabis. A state agency or board may say one thing, but if the local municipal government disagrees or chooses to “opt-out” of allowing certain cannabis businesses in their jurisdiction, a lot of headaches can ensue. Local governments can also put restrictive barriers in place to limit the number of cannabis operations, the hours of operation, zoning, or distance requirements between houses of worship, schools, and other cannabis operations of the same license type.

Notify Your Local Municipality

One of the first things retail dispensaries and microbusinesses with a retail operation will need to do is send out a Notice to Municipality. This will be required prior to opening.

Gather Local Cannabis Industry Support

While this step does specifically relate to the proper municipal government and boards associated with operations, local support should also extend to your business and non-profit neighbors. Put your best foot forward and reach out to the business owners who may be near your operations and get them to support your work. Find non-profits locally that you can support through donations or services. Even individual members of the community you will be operating in can bolster your likelihood of a smoother local approval process and at least help with getting some early customers. This will also be vital for your Community Impact and Community Outreach Plans.

5) Consultants – Work With Our New York Cannabis Experts

All of these proactive steps can help for a smoother and speedier entrance into the cannabis marketplace in New York but working with experienced, New York cannabis consultants will set you far ahead of the rest. From navigating Office of Cannabis Management resources to developing business and operating plans, Canna Advisor’s cannabis experts can help increase the chances of your business opening in a timely and compliant manner.

Ready to Go? Let’s Open Your Business

Whether you’re preparing to submit your application or waiting for your provisional approval, reach out to our experts to get on the right track to full licensure.

Stuck In The Process? Book a Consultation

For those who just need some quick answers or stuck in an already complex application process, we offer one-off hourly consultation blocks. Book a spot with our team to get started.

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