Everything New York Cannabis Retailers Need to Know Now

2023 Updates For New York Cannabis Dispensaries

Now that we have the revised regulations from the New York Cannabis Control Board (“Board”), we can really begin to dive into the weeds (I couldn’t help it!) about what obtaining and operating with a retail dispensary license in New York will be like.

Major Revisions to Distance Requirements

One of the most striking changes in the revised regulations from the proposed regulations which were first unveiled at the end of last year related to distance requirements. In that after December 2023, distance requirements between other retail dispensaries, microbusiness, and registered organizations (“ROs”) will cease to be a requirement.

You read that right. Distance requirements—originally written as being a 1,000- and 2,000-foot radius from any other location of the same license type, radius size dependent on the population of the municipality operating in—will truly only be a requirement at the onset of the application licensing process. There is a caveat here, however. While this will cease to be a requirement for most individuals or small businesses in 2024 and beyond, ROs will still have to abide by this as they expand and open up second and third locations.

Adjusted Timeline for Registered Cannabis Organizations (RO’s)

Registered organizations with dispensing (“RODs” i.e. medical dispensaries) were previously not allowed to enter the adult-use market before three years from the first date of a retail adult-use cannabis sale. This would have given ample time for smaller retail operations, including conditional adult-use retail dispensaries (“CAURD”) to open up shop and get a foothold in what is sure to be one of the largest cannabis marketplaces in the world. The timeline, however, has been shortened significantly in the revised regulations. Now, RO’s are able to open up as soon as December 29, 2023 with their first co-located store and June 29, 2024 with their second and third co-located store.

Get A Jump Start With Provisional Cannabis Licenses

Don’t have a property for your retail dispensary? Have no fear, provisional’s are here! Qualified applicants who meet all the other necessary criteria for operations in the application process can be awarded a provisional license, which is good for one year, as they seek out a property. Applicants would still have needed to submit all the required materials for a final license and once a property is secured, the provisional licensee would go through a conversion process for the annual license. The Board may prioritize provisional status and social and economic equity status in the review and issuance process.

Social & Economic Equity Are Top Priority

New York is very eager to award licenses from nurseries to retailers to social and economic equity applicants. So much so that in an intriguing development, the revised regulations have stipulated that the Office will endeavor to identify all social and economic equity qualifying licensees, regardless of whether such licensee applied as a social and economic equity applicant. On top of this, we have extra priority status, which is for select groups, with this criteria being expanded to include teams comprised entirely of distressed-farmers, service-disabled veterans, and persons living in communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition. Applicants may also be considered for provisional licenses, admission to the social and economic equity incubator program, and offered to reapply after completing the incubator program if their application is denied.

Mandated Employee Handbook

Multiple plans which were identified in the revised regulations received revisions or even complete overhauls (I’m looking at you Energy and Environmental Plan!) but one of the surprising expansions in these revised regulations was towards the Operating Plan. Specifically, we have the mandated inclusion of an Employee Handbook. This handbook shall be included within the Operating Plan and will delineate employee roles and responsibilities, detail the physical effects of cannabis on the human body, highlight the risks of cannabis use and over-use, and assist employees in compliance with inventory tracking requirements to name just a few sections. 

Starting A New York Cannabis Dispensary? Partner With Our Top New York Consultants

New York’s first application window for cannabis licenses will be here before you know it, and time is of the essence to gather all the necessary materials for submission. It’s never too early to begin laying the groundwork to have all your materials ready to go, especially as a retailer seeking to benefit the most from that first mover advantage.

Contact our team of New York Cannabis Consultants to prioritize your application today and be sure to review our New York State Cannabis Guide to get up to speed with critical program developments as they happen.

Related Posts


Boulder, CO


P: 720-708-3154info@thinkcanna.com

Keep In Touch

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.