New York Cannabis Laws Every Dispensary Must Know

New York Cannabis Laws

New York’s legal cannabis market started in 2016 when medical marijuana was legalized. Then in 2021, adult-use cannabis was legalized when lawmakers signed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) into law.

As of 2022, recreational cannabis can legally be bought and sold in New York through state-approved dispensaries.

Following a series of speed bumps, including multiple lawsuits, delays in licensing, and a flourishing illicit market, it appears the state’s legalization plan is ready to get back on track — to the cheers of many New Yorkers.

On September 12, 2023, New York released final approval for adult-use cannabis regulations. Expect to see an increase in licensed dispensaries and a beginning to a potentially massive legal cannabis market.

As more recreational marijuana dispensaries enter the market, it's critical to understand the law. Licensees who are not in compliance risk their license being canceled, suspended, or revoked.

Opening a dispensary in New York?

Read this next: How to Open a Dispensary in NY

This post breaks down the cannabis laws and regulations for adult-use dispensaries in New York.

New York cannabis laws at a glance

  • The state Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) is responsible for regulating New York’s adult use cannabis market

  • BioTrack is New York’s official cannabis track and trace system

  • New York opened General Cannabis Licensing in October of 2023

  • The Cannabis Control Board is charged with the creation and implementation of a social and economic equity plan to promote diversity in NY cannabis

  • Price tags in a cannabis dispensary must show the total cost, including taxes

  • Dispensary employees must complete required trainings

  • Dispensaries cannot be within 500 feet of a school

  • Licensees must implement robust security measures to prevent theft, diversion, and unauthorized access

  • Adults 21 and older can possess up to three ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis

Licensing

Legal reference

§ 120.1 General Application and License Authorizations and Requirements. (a) Applications for new license types and for additional licenses of existing license types may be accepted from time to time as may be deemed appropriate or necessary. (b) Licensing applications shall be accepted during specific license type application periods, which shall be announced no less than thirty (30) days before the application period opens for thatspecific license type, as established by the Board. (c) Limitations may be imposed on the acceptance of licensing applications, including, but not limited to, the total number of licenses; location or authorized region of operation; size of operation or output; limitations associated with true party of interest; eligibility criteria; and operating conditions, such as sustainability, public health and safety, and social and economic equity factors. (d) A licensing application shall be accompanied by an application fee, in the amount required by this Title, for such a license in the form and manner prescribed by the Office. 55 (e) An applicant may use an electronic signature on an application which shall be deemed intended by the applicant to have the same force and effect as the use of a signature affixed by hand. (f) Licenses granted pursuant to this Part may be granted, suspended, cancelled,revoked, or otherwise limited as may be deemed appropriate or necessary. (g) An applicant and licensee shall have an obligation to ensure that the information, documentation, attestations and assurancessubmitted to the Office are not fraudulent, false, or misleading. (h) An applicant shall identify any conflict of interest, including, without limitation, any relationship or affiliation of the applicant, or its true parties of interest, that currently exists with any member, employee, consultant, or agent of the Office, the Cannabis Advisory Board or the Board. The conflict of interest may be actual or perceived.If any conflict of interest should arise during the term of the application process, the applicant shall notify the Office in writing of such conflict. (i) A person shall hold a valid license issued pursuant to the Cannabis Law in order to cultivate, process, distribute, deliver, dispense, offer on-site consumption, test, research, sell, or any other licensed activity for adult-use cannabis and cannabis products within New York State. 56 (j) The information furnished in an application or in any supplemental statement related thereto shall be presumed correct and shall be binding upon an applicant and licensee as if correct. All information furnished in an application or supplemental statement and relied upon in considering an application shall be deemed material in: (1) any prosecution for perjury; (2) any proceeding to suspend, cancel or revoke a license or impose a fee,fine, or other penalty; and (3) the approval or denial of a license. (k) It is the duty of the licensee to comply with regulations, including, but not limited to, requirements that were imposed prior to the issuance of a license, at all times after receiving a license. Any inconsistencies or violations of these regulations or Cannabis Law, by the licensee, shall constitute grounds for penalties, including, but not limited to, fines, as well as license suspension, revocation, and debarment, pursuant to Part 133 of this Title. (l) Requirements of this Part may be amended, abbreviated, otherwise altered, or waived at the discretion of the Board for article 13-E smoking/vaping exception applicants and licensees that are a government or government subdivision or agency.

§ 120.2 Application for an Adult-Use Cannabis License. 57 (a) An applicant and each true party of interest in an applicant shall provide information in a form and manner as prescribed by the Board, which may include, but is not limited to the following: (1) Identity of the applicant or true party of interest. (i) If the applicant or true party of interest is an individual, the individual’s: (a) name; (b) date of birth, corroborated by a copy of a valid photo identification containing the individual’s date of birth issued by a local, state or federal government, which identification shall indicate the individual to be at least twenty-one (21) years of age; (c) name of spouse or domestic partner, if any; (d) social security number; (e) contact information; (f) any other aliases or names by which they have been known or conducted business at any time; and 58 (g) any other information required by the Office. (ii) If the applicant or true party of interest is an entity, including, but not limited to, a partnership, limited liability company, corporation, trust or estate, for each entity, the following information shall be provided: (a) name; (b) address of the principal place of business; (c) telephone number; (d) all websites, social media sites, internet presence, and digital applications or platforms owned, operated or controlled by or registered to the applicant; (e) state or country of incorporation or organization, except in the case of a sole proprietor; (f) contact information of the designated individuals upon whom service shall be made; (g) federal employer identification number; and (h) other names by which it has been known or has conducted business at any time. 59 (iii) The ownership interest percentages as specified under subparagraph (vii) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of this section for each individual partner, member, member-manager or nonmember-manager, director, officer, trustee, certain shareholder, and each individual or entity true party of interest of the entity and of each level of ownership of the applicant, any information required under this section. (iv) Any other information required by the Office. (2) Applicant ownership and financial disclosures. (i) the percentage of ownership interest, financial interest, or any other interest held in the applicant by the applicant’s true parties of interest; (ii) a list of all parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, predecessors, and successors of the applicant; (iii) a description of any and all ownership changes between the initial information provided on the application and the date of submission, including, but not limited to, events such as asset sales and purchases, stock sales and purchases, mergers, business combinations, or consolidations involving the applicant, including all former names of the applicant; (iv) copies of business formation and organizational documents,such as a certificate of incorporation, certificate of limited partnerships, certificates of authority, articles of 60 organizations, charters, bylaws, partnership agreements, operating agreements, agreements between any two (2) or more persons of the applicant that relate in any manner to the assets, property or profit of the applicant, and any other comparable documents and agreements thatsets forth the legalstructure of the applicant or relate to the formation, organization, management or control of the business and all amendments and changes thereto; (v) personal histories or an entity history, as applicable, disclosure forms, including, but not limited to, a person’s residence, employment, licensure and conviction history; (vi) all proposed or executed contracts, term sheets, agreements, or side letters between the applicant or its true parties of interest and a goods and services provider to the applicant, other than those exempted pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of section 124.3 of this Title or non-exempt agreement pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of section 124.3 for a flat fee; (vii) capitalization tables listing specific holders of ownership above 10% of interest if the applicant is a private entity, and 5% of interest for applicants who are publicly traded entities, including true parties of interest of all parents and holding entities relating back to all persons involved that meet these thresholds and any person with any future rights to ownership or revenue, as well as total undisclosed shares held in the entity; (viii) documents relating to the ownership structure of the applicant, showing all holding and parent companies, subsidiaries, and affiliates; 61 (ix) financial documents, including financial statements and tax documents of the applicant for the most recent fiscal year ending prior to the date the application is submitted, or any other comparable documents as may be reasonably required; (x) if the applicant was formed within the year preceding the application for licensure, provide financial statements for the period of time the applicant has been in existence and any pro forma financials used for business planning purposes; (xi) an organizational chart indicating the ownership structure of the applicant and all persons who have decision making authority, control and management over the applicant entity or its assets, including any board members, officers, and directors of the entity and any parent, holding, or management companies of the applicant. If the business entity has a parent company, include the name of each parent company’s principal officers and the percentage of ownership interest of each principal officer; (xii) a description of any license or authorization in any other state or jurisdiction, currently or previously, to cultivate, process, manufacture, distribute, deliver, or sell cannabis or cannabis products in any form, held by the applicant or any true parties of interest of the applicant, and the following which may include, but not be limited to: (a) a copy of each license or authorizing document verifying licensure in thatstate or jurisdiction; 62 (b) a statement granting permission to contact the appropriate regulatory agency that granted the license or authorization, or to authorize the Office to confirm the information contained in the application is true and accurate at its discretion; and (c) if the license or authorization, was ever denied, suspended, cancelled, revoked or otherwise sanctioned, a copy of documentation so indicating, or a statement that the applicant or true party of interest of applicant was so licensed and was never sanctioned; (xiii) details of any administrative proceeding or any governmental agency action in any jurisdiction during the past ten (10) years in which the applicant or any of the true parties of interest of applicant: (a) information on any fines, disciplinary actions or requirements,sanctions, or the equivalent, which came to a settlement agreement regarding a potential violation, or if a registration or license was cancelled, suspended, or revoked; or (b) whether an applicant or its true parties of interest managed or served on the board of a business or nonprofit organization that was fined, disciplined,sanctioned, or the equivalent, or had a registration or license cancelled, suspended or revoked; (xiv) information relating to a business continuity plan which shall mean a plan, in case the applicant, its owners, or its true parties of interest decide to leave the business; there is a material 63 change in the applicant’s ability to operate the business; or the applicant becomes otherwise unable to operate the business; (xv) a certificate of status or good standing from the governing state agency of the state of formation, certificate of assumed name, a certificate of authority to do business in New York from the New York Department of State, if the applicant is a foreign business, where applicable; (xvi) information regarding any relationship, agreement, or arrangement that may exist between the applicant or true parties of interest and any official or any other individuals with control over the approval of an application, including, but not limited to, employees of the Office and members of the Board; (xvii) whether the applicant or any true party of interest of applicant: (a) is out of compliance with section 3-503(2) of the General Obligations Law; (b) has been disciplined or sanctioned by a state or federal agency; or (c) has had any state or federal tax liens against any of their property; (xviii) a list of any charitable contributions by the applicant in the last five (5) years, exceeding $5,000 annually or greater than $250,000 collectively for the applicant’s donation history; 64 (xix) designation of each portion of the application that the applicant considers to be exempt from disclosure under the New York State Freedom of Information Law, including, but not limited to, certain trade secrets or commercial information; (xx) a copy of the labor peace agreement between the applicant and a bona fide labor organization and an attestation that the applicant understands that the maintenance of such a labor peace agreement shall be an ongoing material condition of the license; and (xxi) any other additional information requested by the Office. (3) Criminal history and legal proceedings. For the applicant and its true party of interest, other than its passive investors or otherwise determined by the Office: (i) fingerprints, except for individuals described in clause (h) of subparagraph (i) of paragraph (105) of subdivision (a) of section 118.1 of this Title, in a form and manner as specified by the Office for purposes of obtaining a criminal history report from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. Fingerprints submitted shall be transmitted to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and may be submitted to the federal bureau of investigations for state and national criminal history information checks; (ii) information regarding legal actions, including, but not limited to: 65 (a) any pending legal actions, whether civil, criminal or administrative in nature, and a brief description of any such actions; (b) any settled or closed legal actions, whether civil, criminal or administrative in nature, against the applicant over the past ten (10) years; (c) any judgments within the past ten (10) years including the court, case name, case number, a summary of the facts, the cause of action and what the final ruling or determination was from the court, administrative body or other tribunal; (d) any order, judgment, or decree of any court, administrative body or other tribunal of competent jurisdiction permanently or temporarily enjoining it from or otherwise limiting its participation in any type of business, practice, or activity within the last ten (10) years; (e) information on any bankruptcies, voluntary or involuntary, assignments for the benefit of creditors, appointments of a receiver or custodian or similar insolvency proceedings made, commenced or pending during the past ten (10) years by or involving any applicant; (f) a description of any delinquencies in the payment of any fees or tax required under any federal, state, or municipal law within the past ten (10) years and description of the circumstance for any payment not made because of a dispute regarding the payment of those fees or taxes; and 66 (iii) evidence regarding good moral character, which may include, but not be limited to the applicants: (a) criminal history information; (b) court documents; (c) arrest reports; (d) accusatory instruments; and (e) fingerprint responses. (4) Premises. Applicants shall be required to provide additional information regarding its premises where licensed activities will occur.The required premises information shall include, but is not limited to: (i) information identifying any person that receives payment for rent under a lease or rental agreement relating to the applicant or the premises to be licensed; (ii) information identifying the premises to be licensed which may include, but is not limited to, the street name and number, photographs, GPS coordinates, architectural drawings or other 67 items related to the appearance of the interior or exterior of such premises, or floor plans of the interior of any structures being utilized on the premises; (iii) the nature of the applicant’s interest in the premises, whether leased or owned, and the name of any other person interested as a partner, joint venturer, investor or lender, mortgage holder or mortgage guarantor, or by any other means, with the applicant in the premises; (iv) a statement that the location and layout of the premises to be licensed does not violate any requirement of the Cannabis Law and this Chapter relating to the location and layout of the licensed premises; (v) a statement from the applicant that they have complied with notification requirements pursuant to section 76 of the Cannabis Law relating to a municipality in which the applicant intends to locate the licensed premises, where applicable; (vi) a copy of a certificate of occupancy or its equivalent for the licensed premises; (vii) copies of all applicable executed and proposed deeds, leases, rental agreements or executed option contracts related to the licensed premises, provided before the applicant begins operations, the documents shall demonstrate the applicant possesses or has the right to use sufficient land, buildings, and other premises as specified in the application to properly carry on the activities for which licensure is sought; 68 (viii) documentation acceptable to the Office, that the applicant will be able to obtain insurance sufficient to indemnify and hold harmlessthe state and its officers and employees; (ix) any other information as determined by the Board. (5) Social and Economic Equity. An applicant seeking to qualify as a social and economic equity applicant shall provide information proving their qualification as described in Part 121 of this Title. (b) The Board may grant a provisional license if the applicant submits all the same materials required to be submitted for a final operational license for the same adult-use license type, except the following: (1) requirements for information regarding a premises under paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of this section; and (2) information relating to evaluation of applicants based on premises information, if applicable.

Update on New York adult-use cannabis licenses

Up until September 2023, New York has been operating solely with CAURD licenses (which stands for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License).

These licenses had strict application qualifications, where at least 30% of the business must be owned by someone who:

  • Has been negatively impacted by the war on drugs

  • Has qualifying business experience

  • Has a significant presence in the state of New York

Applications for CAURD have since been closed, but were estimated to be the first 100-200 dispensary licenses. CAURD licensees were to be the first legal marijuana dispensaries to open in the state.

On September 12, 2023, the state of New York finally approved adult-use cannabis regulations and drafted the official process and expectations for applicants who didn’t qualify, or weren’t able to procure a CAURD license.

On October 4, 2023, the state opened General Cannabis Licensing, meaning businesses can resume the application or opening process for adult-use businesses, like dispensaries.

Below are the requirements for NY adult-use dispensary licensing.

Applicant information:

  • Applicants and their true parties of interest must provide detailed personal and entity information, including names, contact details, social security numbers, and identification.

  • Ownership interest percentages must be disclosed for all involved parties.

  • Information about the applicant's online presence, corporate structure, and history must be provided.

Ownership and financial disclosures:

  • Ownership interests and financial information of true parties of interest must be disclosed.

  • Details of parent companies, subsidiaries, and any ownership changes must be included.

  • Legal documents related to the business's structure and financials are required.

  • Financial statements and tax documents must be submitted.

  • Any licenses or authorizations related to cannabis in other jurisdictions must be disclosed.

Criminal history and legal proceedings:

  • Fingerprints and criminal history information must be provided.

  • Details of any legal actions, judgments, bankruptcies, and tax delinquencies within the past ten years must be disclosed.

  • Evidence of good moral character, including criminal history information, must be submitted.

Premises information:

  • Information about the premises where licensed activities will occur must be provided.

  • This includes details about ownership, location, layout compliance, certificates of occupancy, lease agreements, and other relevant documents.

Application eligibility

Legal reference

§ 120.7 Application Eligibility and Evaluation. (a) Eligibility for adult-use cannabis licenses. An applicant for an adult-use cannabis license pursuant to article 4 of the Cannabis Law shall satisfy the following minimum requirements to be eligible for a license: (1) An applicant shall provide information in a form and manner as prescribed by the Board, which shall demonstrate the eligibility for the license type being sought; and (2) In order to apply for a ROND or a ROD license, a registered organization shall be in good standing with the Office and have four (4) medical dispensing sites, located in New York State, dispensing to patients and submit the following: (i) a community impact plan as described in section 121.4 of this Title; (ii) the plans described in Part 125 of this Title as required by the Board on the application; (iii) any other information required by the Office. 91 (b) Applicant Review. An applicant for an adult-use cannabis license shall be reviewed and evaluated in an order and manner determined by the Board, based on provisional, social and economic equity status or any additional criteria to be set by the Board at the time of the opening of the application period. Such criteria may include, but is not limited to: (1) the selection criteria detailed in section 64 of the Cannabis Law; (2) the applicant’s community impact plan, as defined in section 121.4 of this Title, highlighting the applicant’s proposed strategy for community engagement; (3) submissions of any plans pursuant to Part 125 of this Title required by the Board, demonstrating planned compliance with standards and regulations, and highlighting technologies, techniques, and strategies to protect the surrounding environment, limit carbon footprint, and leverage sustainable energy sources; (4) completion of any workforce or training programs offered by the Office and completed by the applicant; (5) the applicant’s history in creating or maintaining an equitable workplace environment through the review of previous business and management practices, including, but not limited to: (i) wages, including, but not limited to: 92 (a) starting hourly rates for hourly workers; (b) starting salary for salaried workers; and (c) average annual wage percent increasesin the last three (3) years by classification of employee; (ii) benefits, including, but not limited to: (a) number of hourly employees with 100% employer paid medical premiums; (b) number of hourly employees receiving Family, Single +1 coverage; (c) number of hourly employees with employee co-contributionsfor medical coverage; or (d) employer paid retirement benefits such as 401(k) match or direct contributions; (iii) training, including, but not limited to, health and safety training; (iv) retention rates; and (v) diversity in hiring and promotion. 93 (6) history in creating or delivering culturally and linguistically competent services to diverse and underserved populations, including, but not limited to: (i) training programs; (ii) multilingual services; (iii) published materials and curricula; (iv) community outreach; (v) administrative and organizational accommodations; and (vi) any other criteria deemed necessary by the Office; (7) serving in community leadership roles within established and licensed businesses, nonprofits, religious organizations, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations, community clubs, neighborhood associations, cooperative development and bona fide labor organization and any other qualifications deemed sufficient by the Office; (8) supporting evidence that demonstratesthe applicant’s ability, capacity, and any initial steps taken to meet the Board’s standards for the plans in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subdivision; 94 (9) the relative performance of applicants based on such criteria; (10) for applications from entities with twenty-five (25) or more employees, the Office shall give consideration to whether applicants have entered into an agreement with a statewide or local bona-fide building and construction trades organization for construction work on its licensed facilities; (11) the applicant’s qualifications for provisional licensing status; and (12) any other information requested by the Office. (c) Approval. The Board may approve licenses using mechanisms, including, but not limited to, scoring, compliance-based evaluation, qualified lottery, randomized ordering, or any combination thereof. (1) The Board will determine the eligibility criteria for each license type, including provisional licenses. (2) The Board may prioritize application submission,review, selection and issuance by region, license type, provisional status, social and economic equity status, or any other criteria the Board may determine. 95 (3) Application submission, review, selection, and issuance may be prioritized by groupings consistent with section 87 of the Cannabis Law, such as: (i) A group consisting only of applications that demonstrate the applicants are eligible for extra priority as defined in section 121.1 of this Title provided the applicant is seeking to qualify as a social and economic equity applicant; (ii) A group consisting only of applications that meet the definition of distressed farmer as described in subdivision (h) of section 121.1 of this Title; (iii) A group consisting only of applications that meet the definition of service-disabled veteran as described in subdivision (i) of section 121.1 of this Title; (iv) A group consisting only of applications that demonstrate the applicant is from a community disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition as described in subdivision (d) of section 121.1 of this Title; and (v) A group consisting of all other applications not included in the categories in subparagraphs (i) through (iv) of this paragraph. (4) Applications may be considered in multiple groups pursuant to their eligibility for such groups. 96 (d) An applicant shallsubmit the required license fee pursuant to section 120.4 of this Part upon Board approval. Those who receive a provisional license shall only pay the license fee upon licensure. (e) If an applicant is approved by the Board, the applicant shall be subsequently issued a provisional license or license. Such provisional license or license shall be subject to conditions specified by the Board. (f) If a provisional licensee fails to satisfy the conditions determined by the Board, the application will be deemed incomplete and a license to operate will not be issued.

Applicants must provide information specified by the Board’s marijuana laws to demonstrate eligibility for their desired license type.

For ROND (Retailer on Premises Not Dispensing) or ROD (Retailer on Premises Dispensing) licenses, registered organizations must be in good standing with the Office and have at least four medical dispensing sites in New York State.

Additional information, such as a community impact plan and plans related to compliance with regulations, may be required (see the required documentation section).

The Board will review and evaluate applicants based on various criteria, including provisional status, social and economic equity status, and other criteria.

Criteria used to determine whether the Board will approve an applicant include:

  • A comprehensive community impact plan outlining the applicant's strategy for community engagement.

  • Submissions of plans that demonstrate planned compliance with standards and regulations, emphasizing environmental protection, carbon footprint reduction, and sustainable energy use.

  • Successful completion of workforce or training programs offered by the Office.

  • Assessment of the applicant's history in establishing an equitable workplace, including factors like:
    • Fair wages

    • Employee benefits

    • Training programs

    • Employee retention rates

    • Diversity in hiring and promotions

  • Participation in leadership roles within established and licensed businesses, nonprofits, religious organizations, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations, community clubs, neighborhood associations, cooperative development, bona fide labor organizations, and any other qualifications considered sufficient by the Office.

  • Presentation of evidence demonstrating the applicant's capacity, ability, and initial steps taken to meet the Board's requirements for plans.

  • For entities with 25 or more employees, consideration of whether they have entered into agreements with statewide or local bona-fide building and construction trades organizations for construction work on their licensed facilities.

  • The applicant's qualifications for provisional licensing status.

Commitment to social and economic equity

Legal reference

§ 121.4 Commitment to Social and Economic Equity. (a) An applicant or licensee, as defined in section 118.1 of this Title, shall be required to demonstrate their commitment to the social and economic equity goals of the Cannabis Law as part of the application process. Such commitment may be demonstrated by the design and implementation of a community impact plan. (1) A community impact plan shall show an applicant’s or licensee’s plan for how the applicant or licensee will benefit communities, and individuals from communities that were disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition, which shall include, but not be limited to: (i) identification of the community or communities and individuals disproportionately impacted that the applicant or licensee plans to benefit; (ii) a description of: (a) the benefits that the applicant or licensee will provide to the community or individuals disproportionately impacted, including, but not limited to, workforce opportunities, community resources, education, and other community building programs; (b) the scale or size of the disproportionately impacted target beneficiaries; and (c) the plan for implementation, including, but not limited to, actions, activities and engagements that will be performed by the applicant or licensee and frequency of engagement with the community or individuals disproportionately impacted; (iii) a demonstrated need of the proposed benefit to the community and individuals disproportionately impacted, including, but not limited to, economic and social impact; (iv) identifiable resources the applicant or licensee will use to execute the community impact plan, including, but not limited to: (a) by written agreement, a demonstrable partnership or relationship with a communitybased organization or other association; (b) estimated expenses, if any, the applicant or licensee will incur to execute the community impact plan and its activities; (c) the applicant’s or licensee’s demonstrated ability, knowledge, expertise or experience; and (d) any other information or documentation evidencing community engagement. (v) a description of the applicant’s or licensee’s strategy to measure, track, and record the performance and execution of the community impact plan that identifies qualitative and quantitative metrics, and includes frequency of tracking such metrics; (vi) a statement by the applicant or licensee supporting its ability to execute on the community impact plan as described in the application based on the suitability and appropriateness of the metrics the applicant or licensee will use to measure the success of the community impact plan; and the nexus described between the community impact plan’s desired outcome, implementation strategy, and the applicant’s or licensee’s demonstrated ability to execute the community impact plan; and (vii) any other requirements for a community impact plan as determined by the Board. (b) Any person, vendor, contractor, entity or individual knowingly engaged in business with an enterprise revealed to be fraudulently qualified as social and economic equity licensee may be permanently barred from receiving a license from the Office after investigation.

To apply for a cannabis license in NY, you have to show that you're committed to the goals of the Cannabis Law that aim to create fairness and support economic growth.

One way to do this is by creating and putting into action a plan that helps your community.

What to include in your community impact plan:

Your plan should explain how you're going to help communities and people who were hurt the most when cannabis was illegal. Here's what you need to include:

  • Who you want to help: Specify which communities and people you're planning to support.
  • What you'll do: Explain what benefits you'll give to these communities and people. This can include things like jobs, community programs, education, and other ways to make the community better.
  • Why it's needed: Show why the help you're offering is necessary for these communities and people. Explain how it will make a difference socially and economically.
  • Resources you'll use: Explain where you'll get the resources to make your plan happen. This can be through partnerships with community organizations, estimated costs, your experience, and any other proof that shows you're really engaging with the community.
  • Measuring success: Describe how you'll keep track of whether your plan is working. This includes using measurements and checking them regularly.
  • Proving you can do it: Showcase confidence that you can carry out your plan. Explain how your chosen measurements show that your plan will work and how it's connected to what you can actually do.

Site and operating plans

Legal reference

§ 125.1 Site, Operating, and Environmental Plans. (a) Site plan. A licensee shall document, implement, and maintain a site plan, which shall be submitted to the Office in a manner and format determined by the Office, consisting of the following information: (1) activities performed in each area of the licensed premises; (2) details of all parcel boundaries, including, but not limited to, physical boundaries, roads, and water crossings of the property; (3) sanitary facilities, as applicable; (4) perimeter dimensions of property and any facilities on premises where licensed activities are taking place or cannabis or cannabis products are being stored; (5) entrances and exits to both the property and premises; (6) licensees authorized for cultivation shall also include in its site plan the following additional information: (i) cultivation area, including aggregate canopy square footage if the areas are noncontiguous. All unique areas separated by identifiable boundaries shall be clearly described 214 and labeled in the premises diagram. Plant bed diagrams noting canopy square footage shall be kept up to date with the Office. Any material change to the site plan shall receive Office approval; (ii) areas outside of the cultivation area for immature cannabis plants, seedlings, clones, and mother plants only, if applicable; (iii) pesticide and agricultural chemical storage area; (iv) drying area; (v) harvest storage area; (vi) a list and description of any lighting used for cultivation of cannabis (with wattage and photosynthetic photon efficacy and placement); and (vii) other activities or other licensed areas. If applicable, a cultivator shall keep all areas used for adult-use cannabis operations, including any growing, harvesting, drying, or storage areas, separate and distinct from any area designated for hemp cultivation authorized under the Department of Agriculture and Markets; and (7) licensees authorized for cultivation and processing shall also include in its site plan designated areas for: 215 (i) bulk packaging; (ii) composting, if on-site; and (iii) secure cannabis waste (not including composting areas); and (8) any other designated areas as determined by the Office. (b) Operating plan. A licensee shall document, implement, and maintain an operating plan, which shall be submitted to the Office in a manner and format determined by the Office and made available to the Office immediately upon request. The operating plan shall consist of the following information: (1) a security and employee training and safety plan that includes risk mitigation and accident prevention plans resulting from a risk assessment of all licensed activities, including an up-to-date list of authorized employees who have access to any surveillance room(s); (2) an overview of all activities the licensee is authorized to engage in, as applicable to the license type, including, but not limited to, cultivation, processing, distribution, transportation, retail sale, and delivery; 216 (3) a quality assurance plan that establishes criteria to detect, identity, prevent, and track cannabis and cannabis product contamination incidents; (4) a cannabis recall plan that includes an annual mock recall test; (5) a cannabis testing plan, as applicable to the licensee, that includes sampling and laboratory testing of cannabis or cannabis product, which is based on risks associated with materials or organisms normally present during the cultivation or processing of cannabis and meets the sampling, transportation and laboratory testing requirements set forth in Part 130 of this Title; (6) licensees authorized for cultivation shall include in their operating plan the following additional information: (i) a soil or growing medium preparation plan; (ii) a pest management and control plan that shall meet the following minimum requirements: (a) be based on integrated pest management (IPM) principles that are adequate for the facility type and size; (b) include details on prevention, observation, and interventional steps and physical, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods utilized that are consistent; 217 (c) demonstrate conformance with the lists of authorized and prohibited pesticides and materials as determined by the Office; and (d) use only those pesticides approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for use on cannabis; and (iii) emergency spill management procedures; (7) licensees authorized for processing shall include in their operating plan the following additional information: (i) if applicable, a description of the extraction method, any chemical solvents or other materials used in the extraction method, and the equipment used to perform the extraction; and (ii) emergency spill management procedures; (8) licensees authorized for retail dispensary activities shall include in their operating plan the following additional information: (i) the current employee in charge and standard operating procedures for the responsibilities outlined in section 123.10(c)(2) of this Title; 218 (ii) documentation demonstrating the retail dispensary is in compliance with section 123.10(f)(1) of this Title; (iii) procedures to remain compliant with applicable local ordinances, such as those pertaining to odor, noise, outdoor lines, and max capacity; and (iv) licensee’s delivery plan, if applicable; and (9) any other information as determined by the Office. (c) Energy and Environmental Plan. Licensees shall document, implement, and maintain an energy and environmental plan, explaining operational processes for sustainability and tracking such processes in a manner and form determined by the Office, which shall include but is not limited to: (1) actions to reduce or eliminate the applicant or licensee’s use of single-use plastics in accordance with the Retail Packaging Sustainability Program outlined in Part 128 of this Title; (2) actions that will be taken to minimize both the use and disposal of chemicals that are considered hazardous waste when disposed; (3) actions that will be taken to use compost or other recycled organics as a component of growing media; 219 (4) areas to reduce the applicant or licensee’s carbon footprint, including, but not limited to: (i) a sustainable energy use and conservation plan that addresses the sourcing and use of energy to include: (a) for new buildings or existing buildings that are going through expansions or renovations, cultivators shall be subject to minimum lighting system efficiency, building energy efficiency including ERV (energy/heat recovery ventilation), building, and equipment standards as determined by the Office; (b) the premises’ proposed energy impact, and energy efficiency goals including timelines and benchmarks, in accordance with those put forth in guidance, as well as how a licensee will engage with energy efficiency programs; (c) practices to limit electricity usage or improve building insulation; and (d) opportunities for renewable energy generation including, where applicable, submission of site plans showing where energy generators could be placed on the premises, and an explanation of why the identified opportunities were not pursued; (5) submit an annual energy report which shall include energy benchmarking in a manner required by the Office; 220 (6) all planned lighting and the energy impact of the planned lighting to meet all standards set forth by the Board including, but not limited to: (i) lighting standards for cultivation areas in all indoor and mixed-light facilities. Horticultural lighting used in a facility shall be listed on the current Design Lights Consortium Solid-state Horticultural Lighting Qualified Products List ("Horticultural QPL") or other similar list approved by the Office as of the date of license application; (ii) existing lighting. Existing horticultural lighting equipment can be used if already in place at the time of conditional licensure. Technical details (wattage input, Photosynthetic Photon Efficacy (PPE)) related to existing equipment shall be submitted to the Office within 30 days of licensure. For equipment that does not meet the minimum requirement of Photosynthetic Photon Efficacy 1.9μmol/J, a documented transition plan to more efficient lighting equipment shall be in place by the conclusion of the first year of production for the licensee. Applicants shall have a plan to transition to a lower energy footprint system which may include, but not be limited to, a PPE of no less than 1.9 μmol/J, oriented toward a net zero emissions target after the conditional licensing period is over. The plan can include onsite renewable energy production, more efficient lighting equipment, carbon offsets as approved by the Office, and demonstrable carbon sequestration practices approved by the Office; (iii) cultivators in Indoor and Mixed Light Tiers 1 and 2 shall be subject to a minimum lighting PPE of 1.9 μmol/J; 221 (iv) cultivators in Indoor and Mixed Light Tiers 3 and larger shall be subject to a minimum lighting PPE of 2.2 μmol/J; (v) a facility seeking to use horticultural lighting not included on the Horticultural QPL or other similar list approved by the Office shall seek a waiver pursuant to a third-party certification of the energy efficiency features of the proposed lighting; (vi) placement of interval meters within every grow room, and at least one for the operating space to capture entire facility footprint; (vii) plans for incorporating staggered peaks into lighting schedules to spread out electric demand; (viii) participation in load shedding or other demand response programs like behind the meter storage; and (ix) proof that the licensee has contacted their local utility to confirm expected energy draw and impacts to local grid; and (7) environmental control and odor mitigation plans that meet all standards set forth by the Office including, but not limited to: 222 (i) dehumidification equipment shall be one of the following: (a) stand-alone dehumidifiers that have a minimum integrated energy factor of 1.77 L/kWh for product case volumes of 8.0 cubic feet or less, and a minimum integrated energy factor of 2.41 L/kWh for product case volumes greater than 8.0 cubic feet; (b) integrated HVAC system with on-site heat recovery designed to fulfill at least 75% of the annual energy for dehumidification reheat; (c) chilled water system with on-site heat recovery designed to fulfill at least 75% of the annual energy for dehumidification reheat; or (d) solid or liquid desiccant dehumidification system for system designs that require dewpoint of 50°F or less; (ii) a refrigerant emission reduction plan, including either plans to utilize HVAC and refrigeration equipment with ultra-low Global Warming Potential (GWP) and/or natural refrigerants or a plan for managing refrigerant leaks and disposal; (iii) indoor cultivation facilities, with the exception of microbusiness and Tier 1 and Tier 2 cultivation licensees, are required to utilize technologies for heating and cooling that do not involve on-site combustion of fossil fuels. Acceptable alternatives to fossil fuel-based systems include, but are not limited to, ground-source (geothermal) systems or air-source heat pump systems; 223 (iv) an HVAC and odor inspection and maintenance plan shall include, but not be limited to: (a) description of manufacturers requirements for inspection and maintenance of mitigation systems; and (b) description of how the licensee will ensure proper operation and energy efficient operations, including, but not limited to, practices to limit or improve odor control and air filtration; (v) odors from all enclosed and enclosable growing operations, and all on-site processing and storage shall be mitigated to minimize objectional impacts off-site. Mitigation technology includes: activated carbon filtration, vapor-phase systems, or other technology approved by the Office; and (vii) heating systems that exhaust to the atmosphere and require an air permit or air facility registration from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, pursuant to 6 NYCRR Part 201, shall obtain an issued permit or registration before construction on the facility starts. Construction is defined in 6 NYCRR Part 201-2.1(b)(9) as “[the] initiation of physical on-site construction activities which are of a permanent nature excluding site clearing and excavation. Such activities include, but are not limited to, installation of building supports and foundations, laying underground pipework and construction of permanent storage structures.” 224 (8) a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, including, but not limited to: (i) pursuant to Section 7(2) of the Climate Leadership and Community Protections Act (CLCPA), a demonstration that the operations will not be inconsistent with or will interfere with the attainment of the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits established in Article 75 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL); (ii) a fossil fuels reduction plan for motor vehicle use in the course of business that includes: annual estimates of miles driven, fuel consumed, and type of vehicle driven along with strategies to reduce fuel consumption or increase travel efficiency in the future; and (iii) practices to mitigate the impact of carbon dioxide used in the cultivation and production of cannabis and cannabis products; (9) ecological regeneration practices, including, but not limited to, those in section 123.4 of this Title; (10) water conservation and use, including, but not limited to: (i) a sustainable water-use and conservation plan that addresses water sources, quality, and use; 225 (ii) environmental controls to ensure that wastewater runoff is in accordance with state and federal regulations, including, but not limited to, DEC State Pollutant Discharge Elimination Solution permitting; and (iii) practices to limit or improve water usage including plans to engage in water recapture or recycling; and (11) waste management, recycling and disposal, including, but not limited to: (i) a waste management program, demonstrating best practices to minimize waste generation, maximize reuse and recycling; and (ii) how waste materials will be labeled, separated, and either picked up or delivered to a recycling service provider in accordance with local waste rules and all applicable laws and regulations; (12) a description of the applicant’s or licensee’s strategy to measure, track, and record the applicant’s or licensee’s performance and execution of the plan that identifies qualitative and quantitative metrics, and includes frequency of tracking such metrics; (13) any other information as determined by the Office. 226 (d) Licensees shall submit their energy and environmental plan in a form and manner as required by the Office or upon request. The Board may take a licensee’s energy and environmental plans and actual performance implementing the plan into consideration for purposes including, but not limited to, licensee renewal, incentives programs, and certifications.


A unique and specific step for New York dispensaries is a required dispensary site plan and operating plan. This goes beyond your business plan and location details to fully outline your processes.

Your dispensary site plan should include:

  • Where your store is physically located

  • Activities that happen in the different parts of the dispensary

  • Clear details about the property, including edges, like physical boundaries, roads, and water crossings

  • Where sanitation facilities are located

  • Overall size and dimensions of all areas

  • Where people enter and exit the property and the building, including emergency exits

  • Proof that your dispensary meets the rules for its location

  • Outdoor signage

Your operating plan should include:

  • Written operating procedures to:
    • Deter theft and prevent loss of cannabis and cannabis products

    • Ensure access to restricted areas is restricted only to those with authorized access

    • Prevent loitering on the premises

    • Handle, store, and transport cash

    • Monitor and track quality assurance concerns and complaints

    • Identify workforce training needs on an annual basis

    • Maintain an alcohol-free, drug-free, and smoke-free workplace (except for smoking or vaping which occurs within a limited consumption facility)

    • Manage and dispose of hazardous waste

    • Manage, recycle, and dispose of all waste in a manner that demonstrates best practices

    • Any other procedures as determined by the Office

    • Sell cannabis products to consumers in a manner that demonstrates compliance

    • Prevent sales to consumers where there is a risk to their health or safety

    • Maintain access to the dispensary by individuals with physical disabilities

    • Remain compliant with local law, including odor, noise, use of the sidewalk, etc.

    • Deliver cannabis products to consumers in a way that demonstrates compliance

  • An employee handbook that is available to employees at all times, and includes information:
    • Tailored for the licensee’s employees and clearly delineated roles and responsibilities in implementing the written operating procedures contained within the operating plan

    • Related to the safer consumption of cannabis products

    • Related to employee safety, including shutdown and emergency procedures

    • To assist employees in compliance with inventory tracking requirements and operation of the inventory tracking systems

    • To ensure employees allow investigations and inspections

    • On how to access current laws, rules and regulations

    • A list of all employees authorized to access surveillance, including first name, last name, and employee ID number (or other unique identifier)

Store location requirements

Legal reference

§ 119.4 Distance Requirements and Measurement of Distance Requirements. (a) No retail dispensary license or microbusiness license shall be granted for any premises which shall be: 44 (1) within a 1,000-foot radius of a registered organization, ROD, or any other premises for which a retail dispensary license or microbusiness license has been issued, in a municipality having a population of 20,000 or more, unless the Board has determined that issuing the license would promote public convenience and advantage; except that distance requirements between a retail dispensary or microbusiness and registered organizationsshall cease to be a requirement past December 2023, or (2) within a 2,000-foot radius of a registered organization, ROD, or any other premises for which a retail dispensary license or microbusiness license has been issued, in a municipality having a population of 20,000 or less, unless the Board has determined that issuing the license would promote public convenience and advantage; except that distance requirements between a retail dispensary or microbusiness and registered organizationsshall cease to be a requirement past December 2023. (b) The Board may determine that granting a license would promote public convenience and advantage as described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of this section by considering the following factors, which include: (1) the number, classes, and character of other licenses in proximity to the premises and in the particular municipality or subdivision thereof; (2) evidence that all necessary licenses and permits have been obtained from the state and all other governing bodies; 45 (3) whether there is a demonstrated need for such license; (4) effect of the grant of the license on pedestrian or vehicular traffic, and parking, in proximity to the premises; (5) the existing noise level at the premises and any increase in noise level that would be generated by the proposed premises; (6) the history of cannabis violations and reported criminal activity at the proposed premises; and (7) any other factors specified by law or regulation that are relevant to determine that granting a license would promote public convenience and advantage of the community. (c) No registered organization or ROD license shall be granted for any premises which shall be: (1) within a 1,000-foot radius of a retail dispensary, microbusiness, or ROD license issued in a municipality having a population of 20,000 or more, unless the Board has determined that issuing a registration or license would serve a medical necessity; provided however, if the license is issued to a ROD for medical necessity, that only medical dispensing sites of the ROD, without a retail dispensary co-location, may be placed in that area; or 46 (2) within a 2,000-foot radius of a retail dispensary, microbusiness, or ROD license issued in a municipality having a population of 20,000 or less, unless the Board has determined that issuing a registration or license would serve a medical necessity; provided however, if the license is issued to a ROD for medical necessity, that only medical dispensing sites of the ROD, without a retail dispensary co-location, may be placed in that area. (d) The Board may determine that issuing a registration or license would serve a medical necessity as described in paragraphs(1) and (2) of subdivision (c) of this section by considering the following factors, which shall include: (1) the number, classes, and character of other registered organizations, RONDs and RODs in proximity to the premises and in the particular municipality or subdivision thereof; (2) evidence that all necessary licenses and permits have been obtained from the state and all other governing bodies; (3) whether there is a demonstrated certified patient need for such license; (4) existing health disparities in the area; (5) effect of the grant of the license on pedestrian or vehicular traffic, and parking, in proximity to the premises; 47 (6) the existing noise level at the premises and any increase in noise level that would be generated by the proposed premises; (7) the history of cannabis violations and reported criminal activity at the proposed premises; and (8) any other factors specified by law or regulation that are relevant to determine that granting a license would address medical necessity of the community. (e) No on-site consumption license shall be granted for any premises which shall be within five hundred (500) feet of three (3) or more existing on-site consumption premises licensed and operating pursuant to this Title, unless the Board has determined that issuing the license would promote public convenience and advantage. (f) Distance In-between Cannabis Sites: The measurements in subdivision (a) of section 119.1 of this Part and subdivisions (a), (c) and (e) of this section, are to be taken in a straight line from the center of the nearest entrance of the premises licensed and operating as a retail dispensary, on-site consumption,microbusiness, or ROD to: (1) the center of the nearest entrance of the building occupied exclusively as a house of worship; and 48 (2) the center of the nearest entrance of the nearest building occupied exclusively as a school, on the school grounds; and (3) the center of the nearest entrance of the building occupied exclusively as an adult-use onsite consumption premises; and (4) the center of the nearest entrance of the nearest building of such public youth facility; or (5) if no entrance exists, the nearest structure of such public youth facility; or (6) if no structure exists, the nearest point of the grounds of the public youth facility’s legally defined property boundary as registered in a county clerk’s office; or (7) if no clear delineation of grounds exists, the nearest point of equipment, the primary purpose of which is reasonably expected to be used by children seventeen (17) years of age or younger. (g) The measurement in paragraph (4) of subdivision (f) of this section is only applicable to the state of the public youth facility at the time the applicant has submitted notification to the municipality or New York City community board. 49 (h) For purposes of this section, the “entrance” shall mean a main door of a house of worship, a building on the school grounds, or public youth facility, if applicable, or of premises licensed and operating pursuant to this Title, regularly used to give ingress to the general public attending the house of worship, a building on the school grounds, public youth facility, the premises licensed and operating pursuant to this Title, or of the premises sought to be licensed, except that where a house of worship, a building on the school grounds, or public youth facility, premises licensed pursuant to this Title, or the premises sought to be licensed is set back from a public thoroughfare, the walkway or stairs leading to any such door shall be deemed an entrance; and the measurement shall be taken to the center of the walkway or stairs at the point where it meets the building line, structure if applicable for public youth facility, or public thoroughfare. Such definition shall not include cellars, back and side doors, delivery entrances, or emergency exits. (i) For such premises licensed or sought to be licensed as an adult-use retail dispensary, onsite consumption, microbusiness, or RODs that are located in a multi-story building, the entrance shall mean any building entrance at the road level to be used for measurement purposes. (j) If the house of worship, nearest building on the school grounds, public youth facility, premises licensed and operating pursuant to this Title, or the premises sought to be licensed, is situated on a corner lot, such structure is considered to be on both roads of the intersection, whether or not there is an entrance to the structure on both roads. 50 (k) A door which has no exterior hardware, or which is used solely as an emergency or fire exit, or for maintenance purposes, or which leads directly to a part of a structure not regularly used by the general public or patrons, is not deemed an “entrance.” (l) Within the context of this section, a building occupied as a house of worship does not cease to be “exclusively” occupied as a house of worship by incidental uses that are not of a nature to detract from the predominant character of the building as a house of worship, such uses include, but are not limited to: (1) the conduct of legally authorized games of bingo or other games of chance held as a means of raising funds for the not-for-profit religious organization which conducts services at the house of worship or for other not-for-profit organizations or groups; (2) use of the structure for fund-raising performances by or benefitting the not-for-profit religious organization which conducts services at the house of worship or other not-for-profit organizations or groups; (3) the use of the building by other religious organizations or groups for religious services or other purposes; (4) the conduct of social activities by or for the benefit of the congregants; 51 (5) the use of the building for meetings held by organizations or groups providing bereavement counseling to persons having suffered the loss of a loved one, or providing advice or support for conditions or diseases, including, but not limited to, alcoholism,substance use disorder, cancer, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, or Alzheimer's disease; the use of the structure for blood drives, health screenings, health information meetings, yoga classes, exercise classes or other activities intended to promote the health of the congregants or other persons; (6) use of the structure by non-congregant members of the community for private social functions; and (7) use of the structure occupied as a house of worship does not cease to be "exclusively" occupied as a house of worship where the not-for-profit religious organization occupying the house of worship accepts the payment of funds to defray costs related to another party's use of the structure.

Dispensary locations must:

  • Be accessible from the street

  • Be located on a public road suitable for business activities

  • Not be on the same road within 500 feet of a school

  • Not be on the same street or avenue within 200 feet of a house of worship

  • Not be within a certain distance from other licensed adult use dispensaries or medical cannabis facilities, unless specifically approved. These distances differ based on municipality population:
    • 20,000 or more = 1,000 feet radius

    • Less than 20,000 = 2,000 feet radius

Dispensary operating requirements

Legal reference

§ 123.10 Retail Dispensary Operations. (a) A retail dispensary shall be a physical brick and mortar store in New York State with posted hours of operation to be authorized to sell cannabis products and related items to cannabis consumers by in-person sale, over the internet or via a digital application pursuant to this Chapter. (b) The retail dispensary may operate a drive-thru service window or pre-order pick-up lanes for individuals using ground transport, with prior written approval from the Office and in compliance with all applicable state and local laws, rules, and regulations. 194 (c) Retail dispensary supervision and staffing requirements include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) No employee shall be the employee in charge of more than one retail dispensary at the same time; and (2) The following activities are to be performed by and overseen by the retail dispensary’s employee in charge: (i) the proper conduct of the employees of the retail dispensary; (ii) the immediate supervision and management of the retail dispensary during hours of operation; (iii) opening and closing the facility; (iv) activities of retail dispensary employees; (v) inventory and delivery acceptance; (vi) recordkeeping and maintenance of files subject to audit or inspection by the Office; (vii) employee training and compliance with state and local laws and regulations; 195 (viii) maintaining and providing to the Office, upon request, an up-to-date retail dispensary staffing plan for staff involved in activities related to the sale of cannabis products; (ix) notifying the Office of the termination of an employee for diversion of cannabis product or theft of currency within 24 hours of the termination; (x) notifying the Office of any change of information required to be reported to the Office; (xi) the turning away of individuals who present a risk to the public; and (xii) any other activity determined by the Office. (3) No employee shall be required to enter a limited retail consumption facility to conduct the duties of their job unless the employee agrees to this condition at time of hiring and such agreement is noted by the employee in charge in the licensee’s records. Licensees shall accommodate all reasonable requests from employees to alter the terms of such agreement and, in the event an employee notifies the Office or Board that their reasonable request was not accommodated, the licensee shall alter the terms of such agreement if the Board deemssuch request to have been reasonable. Failure by the licensee to comply with these requirements may result in suspension, revocation, and/or a civil penalty pursuant to Part 133 of this Title. (d) Verification of identification and proof of age for retail dispensaries. 196 (1) No retail dispensary shallsell, deliver, or give away or cause or permit or procure to be sold, delivered, or given away any cannabis or cannabis product to any individual, actually or seemingly under the age of twenty-one (21) years of age or any visibly intoxicated individual. (2) Retail dispensary staff shall inspect the individual'sidentification and determine the individual's age to validate that the individual is twenty-one (21) years of age or older. Valid identification and proof of age shall include: (i) a valid driver's license or non-driver identification card issued by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the federal government, any United States territory, commonwealth or possession, the District of Columbia, a state or local government within the United States or a provincial government of the dominion of Canada; (ii) a valid federal, state, or local government identification, including IDNYC, stating the individual’s age and a photograph of the individual’s face; (iii) a valid passport issued by the United States government or any other country; (iv) a consular identification card; or (v) an identification card issued by the armed forces of the United States. 197 (3) The retail dispensary employee may perform a transaction scan of the individual’s identification as a precondition to the sale of any cannabis product. (4) On-line orders, telephone orders or other means of orders not made in person for cannabis products shall include an attestation that the individual ordering is twenty-one (21) years of age or older. The retail dispensary employee who transports the cannabis product shall obtain verification of the identity and the age of the cannabis consumer at the point of delivery by viewing or scanning a document described in this Part before providing the cannabis product to the cannabis consumer. If the individual placing the order will not be the individual accepting the order, the individual placing the ordershall attest that the individual accepting the order is over twenty-one (21) years of age and that individual shall provide verification of identity and age at the time of accepting the delivery or dispensing. Both individuals' identities shall be recorded in the licensees’ point-of-sale system. (5) A retail dispensary may not acquire or record cannabis consumer personal information without consent, unlessthis information is typically acquired in a sales transaction, which can include the cannabis consumer's age. (e) Cannabis Product Sales Requirements. (1) A retail dispensary will be operational and available to sell cannabis products to cannabis consumers only during their designated hours of operation as provided in the application for a license or in the retail dispensary operating plan. Retail dispensaries may operate within the 198 business hours stipulated in section 119.2 of this Title, unless operating hours are otherwise specified by the jurisdiction in which the business operates, in accordance with Cannabis Law and this Chapter. (2) The retail dispensary shall: (i) post, visible to consumers, its hours of operation in a conspicuous location inside each retail dispensary premises; (ii) post, visible to consumers, any and allsigns or posted placards required by the Office, including posting of the adult-use retail dispensary license issued by the Office and allowable possession and purchase limits, in a conspicuous location inside the retail dispensary premises; (iii) only offer for sale cannabis products, cannabis paraphernalia, or cannabis merchandise with the licensee’s brand. Such provision shall not preclude the sale of cannabis merchandise with the brand of a trade association. Cannabinoid hemp products may only be provided, however, when the retail dispensary has obtained a cannabinoid hemp retailer license pursuant to article 5 of the Cannabis Law; (iv) offer for sale or provide containers to consumers for the secure storage of cannabis that lock and are child resistant pursuant to Part 128 of this Title; (v) utilize an inventory tracking system pursuant to section 125.8 of this Title, with the capability of compiling a retail dispensary’s cannabis product inventory, transaction data and tax 199 liability as prescribed by the Office. The retail dispensary’s system shall be compatible and capable of reporting the data to the Office on a real time basis; and (vi) conduct a monthly analysis of its inventory tracking system to determine that no software has been installed that could be utilized to manipulate or alter inventory or sales data and that no other methodology has been employed to manipulate or alter data. The use of any means to willfully underreport or overreport sales or manipulate inventory is prohibited and subject to penalties pursuant to Cannabis Law and Part 133 of this Title. (3) A retail dispensary may display, in secure, locked cases, samples of each cannabis product offered for sale. Authorized employees may remove samplesfrom the display case and provide it to the cannabis consumer for inspection, provided the cannabis consumer may not consume or otherwise use or remove the sample from the retail dispensary. (4) Cannabis products shall only be sold by authorized employees of the retail dispensary who shall be twenty-one (21) years of age or older if interacting with cannabis consumers. (5) A retail dispensary shall be in a location consistent with distance requirements in Part 119 of this Title or as determined by the Board. (f) Cannabis Product Sales Transactions Requirements. 200 (1) Each sales transaction record shall be sent to the Office’s inventory tracking system, realtime, in a manner as determined by the Office, and provide enough detail to independently determine the taxability of each sale and the amount of tax due and collected. Detailed information required for each sales transaction includes, but is not limited to, the: (i) individual item(s) sold, including the form and the quantity of cannabis products and any other items sold; (ii) selling price; (iii) tax due including a separate delineation for each retail tax imposed on adult-use cannabis pursuant to article 20-C of the Tax Law; (iv) method of payment; (v) first name and the first letter of the last name of the employee completing the sales transaction; (vi) device that was used to complete a sales transaction that may be a combination of software and hardware; (vii) unique identifier for the sales transaction; and 201 (viii) date and time of the sale; (2) A cannabis consumer shall be offered a receipt of their purchase, including, but not limited to: (i) the name, address, and license number of the retail dispensary; (ii) the date and time of sale; (iii) the form and the quantity of cannabis products and any other items sold; (iv) the first name and the first letter of the last name of the employee completing the sale, and the delivery licensee’s license number fulfilling the sale, if applicable; and (v) the tax paid including a separate delineation for each tax imposed on adult-use cannabis pursuant to article 20-C of the Tax Law; (3) Cannabis products purchased by a cannabis consumer may be placed into an exit package pursuant to Part 128 of this Title. (4) Nothing in this section shall prevent a retail dispensary employee from refusing to sell cannabis product if, in their judgment, doing so could endanger the health or safety of the cannabis consumer. 202 (g) Retail Dispensary Prohibitions. A retail dispensary shall not: (1) violate distance requirements pursuant to section 119.4 of this Title, or the Cannabis Law; (2) conduct or transact business at a retail dispensary under a name which contains as a part thereof the words "drugs", "medicines", "drug store", "apothecary", "pharmacy", or similar terms or combination of terms, or in any manner by advertisement, circular, poster, sign or otherwise describe or refer to the licensed premises, or describe the type of service or class of products sold by the retail dispensary, by the terms "drugs", "medicine", "drug store", "apothecary", or "pharmacy”. A retail dispensary name shall comply with the requirements in Part 129 of this Title; (3) prominently display cannabis products or cannabis paraphernalia or cannabis merchandise or any packaging or labeling that could reasonably be mistaken for a cannabis product in a storefront window or other similar location that makesthe product or paraphernalia easily visible to individuals utilizing the public thoroughfare on which the dispensary is located; (4) sell or otherwise dispense any cannabis product later than the product date of expiration or use by date marked on the label, however, when the cannabis product is identified as an outdated product, the secure segregation and holding of such product beyond its date of expiration or use by date for disposal shall not be deemed a violation of this paragraph; 203 (5) dispense or otherwise sell cannabis products from a vending machine or allow such a vending machine to be installed at the interior or exterior of the premises of the retail dispensary; (6) abandon the licensed premises without surrendering the license to the Board and making appropriate arrangements for the disposal of cannabis products; (7) sell cannabis products obtained through the use of, or accept a sale of cannabis products from, any business that does not hold a license in New York State pursuant to article 4 of the Cannabis Law; (8) provide cannabis samples to a cannabis consumer, other than to allow inspection of the product prior to purchase; (9) allow employees under twenty-one (21) years of age to have direct interaction with individuals inside a licensed retail dispensary; (10) engage in cannabis processing, manufacturing, or compounding at the retail dispensary; (11) knowingly sell, deliver, or give away to a cannabis consumer: (i) any amount of cannabis product which they know would cause the cannabis consumer to be in violation of the Cannabis Law or possession limits established by article 222 of the Penal Law; 204 (ii) any cannabis product, cannabis paraphernalia, or cannabis merchandise if the cannabis consumer is unable to produce valid proof of government-issued identification and age confirming that they are twenty-one (21) years of age or older; (iii) cannabis products if the cannabis consumer or the public would be placed at risk. This includes, but is not limited to, the cannabis consumer engaging in daily transactionsthat exceed the legal possession limits or that create a risk of diversion; (iv) food, beverage, or personal care item that is not a cannabis product; (v) any product that contains nicotine; and (vi) alcoholic beverage as defined in section 3 of the Alcohol Beverage Control Law. (12) make recommendations to a cannabis consumer who is also a medical cannabis patient if the patient’s dosing recommendation is “Per Pharmacist Consultation” and that patient presents their patient certification, issued pursuant to Part 113 of this Title, at the retail dispensary, without disclosing to the cannabis consumer that they are not a pharmacist. Further, any patient who presents a valid medical cannabis patient certification shall be provided a list of the nearest registered organization dispensing facilities; 205 (13) solicit or receive an order for, keep or expose for sale, or keep with intent to sell any cannabis product or cannabinoid hemp product to a cannabis consumer by means of any vehicle or wheeled frame used for transporting objects, for carrying goods and materials, including, but not limited to, a cart, car, van, truck or trailer; (14) place back into stock of any retail dispensary or re-dispense cannabis product which is returned by a cannabis consumer. The returned product shall be quarantined for disposal pursuant to section 125.9 of this Title; (15) sell any form or type of cannabis product not authorized by Cannabis Law or this Chapter; (16) sell any cannabis product that has not passed quality assurance laboratory testing pursuant to Part 130 of this Title; (17) sell any cannabis product for which the required tax pursuant to article 20-C of the Tax Law has not been paid; (18) sell any cannabis product that does not meet the packaging and labeling requirements in Part 128 of this Title; (19) advertise or market any cannabis or cannabis products not in compliance with Part 129 of this Title; 206 (20) allow the consumption of any cannabis product by employees, individuals or cannabis consumers, including any smoking or vaping, in any area of the licensed premises except a consumption facility; (21) pay for marketing or promotion through a third-party platform, marketplace, or aggregator that lists cannabis products for sale; (22) contract with a third-party provider offering two or more of the following services: point of sale, payment processing, inventory tracking, or e-commerce, unlesssuch third-party provider offers readily accessible integration of the same functionality to independent alternative service providers for each service offered pursuant to this provision; provided however thatsuch thirdparty provider may impose commercially reasonable terms and require compliance with applicable security and privacy laws and regulations in providing such integration; or (23) fulfill any order placed or otherwise acquired from the retail dispensary’s purported website on a third-party marketplace or aggregator where other retail dispensary licensees are listed, or visa-versa. (h) Exceptions. Nothing in this section shall prohibit: 207 (1) delivery of cannabis products into a town, city or village that, by local law, prohibits the establishment of a retail dispensary; and (2) delivery of cannabis products into a local jurisdiction beyond the prohibited hours for retail dispensary sales in such jurisdiction provided the delivery occurs within the hours of operation set forth in this section. (i) Cannabis Consumer Education. (1) The retail dispensary shall be required to make available to cannabis consumers, including to consumers who place delivery orders, certain public health and other educational materials provided or required by the Office. (2) Consumer education materials may not make health claimsregarding cannabis or cannabis products. (3) Consumer education materials shall be made available for inspection by the Office upon request. (j) Storage Requirements. All cannabis products shall be stored in accordance with section 125.3 of this Title. 208 (1) A retail dispensary shallstore working stock of cannabis products locked behind a counter or other barrier to ensure a cannabis consumer does not have direct access to the cannabis products. (2) Retail dispensaries shall have policies and proceduresin place for the handling and storage of cash at the retail dispensary and for transportation of cash to financial institutions to prevent theft, loss and associated risks to the safety of employees, retail customers and the general public. (k) Delivery Service. Retail dispensaries providing delivery service shall have a written delivery service plan available for inspection by the Office. Delivery of cannabis products to a cannabis consumer shall be conducted pursuant to section 123.20 of this Part and section 125.10 of this Title; (l) Product Returns and Recalls. (1) All recalls shall be conducted pursuant to section 125.9 of this Title, unless the retail dispensary is otherwise directed by the Office. (2) Retail dispensaries shall establish written policies and procedures to monitor, track and resolve complaints, cannabis product returns and quality assurance concerns. (m) Pricing. 209 (1) A retail dispensary shall designate the price of each cannabis product or item sold by attaching to, or otherwise displaying immediately adjacent to each such item displayed in the interior of the licensed premises where sales are made, a price tag, sign or placard setting forth the price at which each such item is offered for sale at the dispensary. Pricing shall also be included on any menu accessible to cannabis consumers. (2) The price of all cannabis products and items offered for sale on the internet to prospective cannabis consumersshall be available on any internet website or digital application of the retailer. (3) No retail dispensary shall refuse or fail to make product pricing available to cannabis consumers, upon request, including quoting pricing to a prospective cannabis consumer by telephone or other means of communication. (4) When the retail dispensary displays a cannabis product price, itshall also display, separately, but in a similar font size or manner to the price, the total cost of the item which includes all taxes that would be paid by the consumer on the cannabis product or item. (n) Cannabinoid hemp products in an adult-use retail dispensary. 210 (1) Adult-use retail dispensaries thatsell cannabinoid hemp product to a cannabis consumer shall comply with the applicable requirements of Part 114 of this Title, including obtaining a cannabinoid hemp retail license. (2) Cannabinoid hemp flower products clearly labeled or advertised for the purposes of smoking, or in the form of a cigarette, cigar, or pre-roll, or packaged or combined with other items designed to facilitate smoking may be sold at a retail dispensary. (o) Limited Retail Consumption Facility. (1) A limited retail consumption facility shall be a type of consumption facility that is that is a part of the licensed premises of the associated dispensary regardless of whether the facility is indoors, as follows: (i) within the boundaries of the same parcel as the associated dispensary; or (ii) within the boundaries of a parcel which is contiguous with the parcel containing the associated dispensary. (2) Cannabis products sold at a limited retail consumption facility may not be rolled, packed, split, infused, mixed, or otherwise prepared by a licensee or any persons affiliated with the licensee, including, but not limited to, the licensee’s employees; 211 (3) A limited retail consumption facility shall not charge an entry fee, cover, or othersimilar fee for limited retail consumption facility functions, provided however,such limited retail consumption facility may charge such fee in association with an event, including, but not limited to, cannabis events pursuant to section 120.19 of this Title; (4) A limited retail consumption facility shall not have a point of sale within the limited retail consumption facility; (5) A limited retail consumption facility shall not allow an adult-use nursery, cultivator, processor, distributor, cooperative or collective, microbusiness,ROD, ROND, registered organization registered under article 3 of the Cannabis Law, or cannabis laboratory licensee or permittee or any true party of interest of any of the aforementioned to advertise at the limited retail consumption facility through use of a brand representative; (6) The Office may limit the number of cannabis events at a limited retail consumption facility; (7) A limited retail consumption facility shall comply with the requirements of Part 125 of this Title which pertain to a consumption facility; and (8) A limited retail consumption facility shall comply with any other requirements as determined by the Board.

Retail dispensaries must be physical brick and mortar stores in New York State authorized to sell cannabis products and related items to cannabis consumers through in-person sales, over the internet, or via a digital application.

Order fulfillment options:

  • Dispensaries can operate drive-thru service windows or pre-order pick-up lanes to conduct cannabis sales (with prior written approval from the Office).

Employee in charge:

  • Specific responsibilities must be assigned to an "employee in charge", including supervision, management, recordkeeping, and more.

  • No employee in charge can oversee more than one retail dispensary simultaneously.

Verification of identification:

  • Dispensaries must verify the age of cannabis consumers using valid identification, including driver's licenses, passports, and government-issued IDs.

  • Transaction scans of identification may be performed.

  • Online orders must include an attestation of the consumer's age, and age verification must occur at the point of delivery or pickup.

Sales requirements:

  • Retail dispensaries can only operate during designated hours.

  • Hours of operation must be posted visibly inside the premises.

  • Only authorized employees, aged 21 or older, can sell cannabis products.

  • Dispensaries must offer secure, child-resistant storage containers for cannabis.

  • Inventory tracking systems must be used to monitor sales and tax liability in real-time.

  • Retailers must not manipulate or alter sales or inventory data.

Discounts and specials:

  • Dispensaries cannot give away, including through donation, any cannabis products.
  • Licensees cannot advertise giveaways, discounts, price reductions, points-based reward systems, or customer loyalty programs including, but not limited to, by using the words “sale”, “free”, “price drop”, or “discount” on a menu, in any communications to customers, or elsewhere. This does not prohibit licensees from changing the price of cannabis products or otherwise “discounting” products.

Prohibitions:

  • Dispensaries must not violate distance requirements or advertise as drug stores or pharmacies.

  • They should not prominently display cannabis products in windows.

  • Dispensing from vending machines is prohibited.

  • The sale of outdated or expired products is not allowed.

  • No THC (flower, edibles, concentrates, etc.) sales to individuals under 21, customers showing visible impairment, or those without proper identification.

  • Dispensaries cannot sell nicotine products or alcoholic beverages.

Pricing and consumer education:

  • Cannabis prices must be clearly displayed for all items.

  • Price tags should show the total cost, including taxes.

  • Cannabis consumer education materials must be made available to customers.

Dispensary security

Legal reference

§ 125.3 Security and Storage of Cannabis. (a) General Requirements. A licensee shall implement sufficient security measures to deter diversion, theft, or loss of cannabis and cannabis products, theft, or loss of cash, prevent unauthorized entrance into areas containing cannabis or cannabis products, and to ensure the safety of the licensee’s employees and the general public. Unless otherwise approved by the 280 Office, such security measures taken by the licensee shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) positively identifying individuals who are not employees of the facility and are seeking access to the premises to limit access solely to individuals twenty-one (21) years of age or older; (2) implementing and maintaining a security plan which may be included within the licensee’s operating plan and shall include a description of the security measuresto: (i) prevent unauthorized access to the licensed premises by unauthorized persons and protect the physical safety of employees; (ii) deter theft or loss of cannabis and cannabis products; (iii) prevent loitering and ensure that only individuals engaging in activity expressly or by necessary implication permitted by the Cannabis Law and this Title are allowed to remain on the premises of the licensee; (iv) lock all perimeter doors and windows; and (v) provide for safe cash storage and handling, and transportation of cash to financial institutions; and 281 (3) securing all entrances to the licensed facility to prevent unauthorized access; (4) ensuring that both the inside, and the outside perimeter of the licensed facility are sufficiently illuminated to facilitate surveillance; (5) maintaining trees, bushes, and other foliage outside of the licensed premises so as to prevent a person from concealing themselves from sight; and (6) any other requirements provided in this section, and as determined by the Office. (b) Storage. Cannabis and cannabis products shall be stored in a secure, locked safe, vault, or other approved equipment or location within the licensed premises to prevent diversion, theft or loss, and in such a manner, as to protect against physical, chemical and microbial contamination, and deterioration of the cannabis and cannabis products as follows: (1) all safes, vaults or any other approved equipment or areas used for the cultivation, processing, and/or storage of cannabis or cannabis products shall be securely locked and protected from entry, except for the actual time required to remove or replace cannabis and cannabis products; (2) keys shall not be left in the locks or stored or placed in a location accessible to individuals who are not authorized to access cannabis or cannabis products; 282 (3) security measures, such as combination numbers, passwords or biometric security systems, shall not be accessible to individuals other than those specifically authorized to access cannabis or cannabis products; (4) a separate secure area shall be designated for temporary storage of any cannabis or cannabis product that requires disposal; (5) cannabis and cannabis products within storage areas shall be kept out of plain sight and not visible from a public place outside of the licensed premises without the use of binoculars, optical aids, or aircraft; and (6) access to cannabis and cannabis product storage areas and areas within the licensed facility where security equipment and recordings are stored shall be restricted to: (i) authorized licensee personnel; (ii) employees of the Office or its authorized representatives; (iii) emergency personnel responding to an emergency; and (iv) other individuals authorized by the licensee for the sole purpose of maintaining the operations of the facility. 283 (c) Security System. All facilities operated by a licensee where cannabis or cannabis products are stored or handled shall have a security system to prevent and detect diversion, theft or loss utilizing commercial grade equipment, which shall, at a minimum, include: (1) a perimeter alarm that communicates with an internal designee and a third-party commercial central monitoring station when intrusion is detected; (2) video camera surveillance in all areas, except in areas where cannabis consumers are consuming cannabis, that may contain cannabis or cannabis products, allsurveillance areas or rooms and at all points of entry and exit, and in any parking lot, which shall be appropriate for the normal lighting conditions of the area under surveillance. Video camera surveillance shall meet the following additional requirements: (i) video cameras shall be directed at allsafes, vaults, sales areas, and any other areas where cannabis and cannabis product, as applicable, is cultivated, harvested, processed, prepared, stored, handled, transferred, or sold and forthe purpose of securing cash; (ii) video cameras shall be positioned at entry and exit points, and at each point-of-sale area, to allow for the capture of clear and certain identification of any person entering or exiting the facility or at the point-of-sale; (iii) video cameras shall have the ability to immediately produce a clear color still photo from any camera image (live or recorded); 284 (iv) video recordings shall allow for the exporting of still images in an industry standard image format (including .jpeg, .bmp, and .gif). Exported video shall have the ability to be archived in a proprietary format that ensures authentication of the video and guarantees that no alteration of the recorded image has taken place. Exported video shall also have the ability to be saved in an industry standard file format that can be played on a standard computer operating system; (v) video cameras shall include a date and time stamp embedded on all recordings. The date and time shall be synchronized and set correctly, measured in accordance with the United States National Institute Standards and Technology standards and shall notsignificantly obscure the picture; (vi) video cameras shall produce continuous recordings during hours of operation and at any time that cannabis or cannabis product is handled, and motion activated recordings at all other times, from all video cameras, which the licensee shall make available via remote access or login credentials for immediate viewing by the Office or the Office’s authorized representative upon request. All recordings shall be retained for at least 60 days; (vii) licensees shall make an unaltered copy of video camera recording(s) to the Office upon request; 285 (viii) if a licensee is aware of a pending criminal, civil or administrative investigation or legal proceeding for which a recording may contain relevant information, the licensee shall retain an unaltered copy of the recording until the investigation or proceeding is closed or the entity conducting the investigation or proceeding notifiesthe licensee that it is not necessary to retain the recording, but in no event for less than 60 days; and (ix) the physical media or storage device on which surveillance recordings are stored shall be secured in a manner to protect the recording from tampering or theft; and (3) a failure notification system that provides an audible, text, or visual notification of any failure in the security system. The failure notification system shall provide an alert to the licensee’s designated representative(s) within five (5) minutes of the failure, either by telephone, email, or text message; (4) the ability for the security alarms and video surveillance system to remain operational during a power outage for a minimum of eight (8) hours; (5) limiting access to any surveillance areas and keeping all on-site surveillance rooms locked. A licensee shall make available to the Office or the Office’s authorized representative, upon request, a current list of authorized employees who have accessto any surveillance room; (6) keeping all locks, storage and security equipment in full operating order and shall test and inspect such equipment at regular intervals, not to exceed 30 calendar days from the previous 286 inspection and test. Records of security tests shall be maintained for five (5) years and made available to the Office upon request; and (7) outdoor areas designated for cannabis cultivation shall implement the video surveillance requirements as set forth in this Part, which shall be operating for no less than the three-week period preceding a harvest, as well as at all times while drying, curing, storing or disposing of cannabis. To ensure that outdoor areas are not readily accessible to unauthorized individuals and to prevent and detect diversion, theft or loss of cannabis, cultivation security measures shall, based on tier of the outdoor cultivator, include the following: (i) a perimeter security fence or perimeter breach detection device, unless otherwise approved by the Office, designed to prevent unauthorized entry with signs notifying observers that it is a Limited Access Area; fencing shall: (a) be constructed of metal or another similarly secure material; (b) measure at least eight (8) feet from the ground to the top; (c) have support posts that are securely anchored; and (d) meet the requirements of the relevant municipal code provisions; and (ii) use commercial-grade, nonresidential locks; 287 (iii) motion activated floodlights, which may face away from the canopy, or other technology, such as motion activated night vision cameras, which provide sufficient visibility in darkness; and (iv) controlled point of access. (8) The Office shall determine the appropriate security measuresfor outdoor nurseryareas and based on cultivator tier size, for outdoor canopy areas in the period preceding a harvest and for drying, storage, and disposal areas at all times. (d) Employee and Visitor Identification. Employees, visitors, and other persons at licensed premises, including persons engaged in the transportation of cannabis or cannabis products, shall be required to provide identification to the Office, or other authorized enforcement official upon request. (1) All licensees and employees on the licensed premisesshall be requiredto hold and properly display an identification badge, issued by the licensee, at all times, while on the licensed premises or when engaged in the transportation of cannabis or cannabis products. The identification badge shall include, at a minimum, the following information: (i) employee’s first and last name; (ii) employee’s photograph; 288 (iii) licensee’s legal name; and (iv) licensee’s license number as issued by the Office; (2) Non-employee visitors to the licensed premises, other than cannabis consumers,shall be required to hold and properly display an identification badge issued by the licensee at all times while on the licensed premises. (3) The licensee shall maintain a visitor log of all persons, other than employees, cannabis consumers visiting a retail dispensary, permitted cannabis laboratories or laboratory sampling firms, emergency personnel responding to an emergency, or any other persons as determined by the Office, thatshall be maintained on the licensed premises for a period of five (5) years and be made readily available to the Office upon request. The log shall include the following information: (i) the full name of each visitor, as well as the company the individual worksfor entering the licensed premises; (ii) the time of arrival; (iii) time of departure; and 289 (iv) purpose of the visit. (e) Incident Reporting. A licensee shall notify the Office in a manner prescribed by the Office, of any breach of security or other incident set forth in this section immediately and, in no instance, more than twenty-four (24) hoursfollowing discovery of the security breach or incident. (1) Notification to the Office shall be provided for the following incidents: (i) discovery of inventory discrepancies; (ii) diversion, theft, or loss of any cannabis or cannabis product; (iii) any criminal action involving or occurring on or in the licensed premises; (iv) any suspicious act involving the cultivation, processing, distribution, or sale of cannabis or cannabis products by any person; (v) unauthorized destruction of cannabis or cannabis products; (vi) any loss or unauthorized alteration of records related to cannabis or cannabis products; 290 (vii) an alarm activation or other event that requires response by public safety personnel, including, but not limited to: local law enforcement, police and fire departments, public works or municipal sanitation departments, and municipal inspectional services departments, or security personnel privately engaged by the licensee; (viii) the failure of any security alarm system, or video surveillance, due to a loss of electrical power or mechanical malfunction that is expected to last more than eight (8) hours; (ix) a significant motor vehicle crash that occurs while transporting or delivering cannabis products and would require the filing of an accident report with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles; (x) any other breach of security; and (xi) any other event that may compromise public health and/or safety including the health and safety of the workforce at the licensed premises; (2) The licensee shall, within ten (10) calendar days of any incident in paragraph (1) of this subdivision, submit an incident report in a form and manner determined by the Office which details the circumstances of the incident, any corrective action taken, and confirmation that the appropriate law enforcement authorities were notified. 291 (3) All documentation related to an incident shall be maintained by a licensee for not less than five (5) years or the duration of an open investigation, whichever is longer, and made available to the Office and law enforcement authorities within their lawful jurisdiction upon request.

General dispensary security requirements:

  • Licensees must implement robust security measures to prevent theft, diversion, and unauthorized access.

  • Access to the premises must be restricted to individuals aged 21 or older.

  • Licensees must have a security plan that covers various aspects, including preventing unauthorized access, deterring theft, and ensuring employee safety.

  • All entrances to the facility must be secured.

  • Adequate lighting should be maintained inside and outside the facility to facilitate surveillance.

  • Landscaping should prevent individuals from hiding on the premises.

Storage requirements:

  • Cannabis and cannabis products must be stored securely in locked safes, vaults, or approved locations within the facility.

  • Keys should not be left accessible to unauthorized individuals.

  • Security measures such as combinations, passwords, or biometric systems should be restricted to authorized personnel.

  • A separate area must be designated for temporary storage of products for disposal.

  • Cannabis and cannabis products must be kept out of plain sight from outside the premises.

  • Access to storage areas and security equipment should be restricted to authorized personnel.

Security system:

  • All facilities handling cannabis must have a security system that prevents and detects theft or diversion.

  • The security system should include perimeter alarms, video camera surveillance, failure notification systems, and backup power for at least eight hours.

  • Surveillance cameras must cover various areas, including safes, sales areas, points of entry and exit, and parking lots.

  • Video recordings must be retained for at least 60 days and be available for inspection by authorities.

  • Surveillance equipment must be maintained and tested regularly.

Employee and visitor identification:

  • Employees and visitors must display identification badges issued by the licensee.

  • Identification badges should include essential information such as names, photographs, and license numbers.

  • Visitors' information should be logged, including names, arrival and departure times, and the purpose of their visit.

Incident reporting:

  • Licensees must report security breaches and incidents, including theft, diversion, criminal actions, inventory discrepancies, and more, to the Office.

  • Notification to the Office must occur within 24 hours of discovering an incident.

  • Incident reports detailing the circumstances, corrective actions, and law enforcement notifications must be submitted to the Office within ten days.

  • All documentation related to incidents must be retained for at least five years or for the duration of open investigations.

Learn how to protect your dispensary with the Dispensary Security Guide.

Employee requirements and required training

Legal reference

§ 125.4 Employee Requirements and Obligations. (a) Licensees shall not employ anyone under the age of eighteen (18) years of age. Any employee eighteen (18) years of age or older but under twenty-one (21) years of age may not deliver cannabis products to consumers or have direct interaction with customers inside a licensed retail dispensary or consumption facility or exception area. (b) Licensees shall use due diligence to ensure that all employees possess the necessary education and training for the duties they will be assigned. (c) The act, omission, or failure of an agent, officer, representative, or other person acting for or employed by a licensee, within the scope of their employment or position, shall in every case be deemed the act, omission, or failure of the licensee. § 125.5 Responsible Workforce Training. (a) Licensees shall provide all managers, employees, contractors, volunteers, or persons otherwise performing activities under a licensee’s authorizations, within thirty (30) days of starting to perform licensed activities and at no cost to the recipient, a Responsible Workforce 292 Training, which shall consist of required elements and be made available in English and the primary language of all recipients. (b) Licensees shall provide an abbreviated version of this training to employees planned to be performing activities under a licensee’s authorizations for fewer than 30 days, as appropriate. The Office shall issue determinations pertaining to the appropriate abbreviation of Responsible Workforce Training for such individuals. (c) The Responsible Workforce Training shall include: (1) a Cannabis Product Safety and Responsibility course as determined by the Office; (2) a Cannabis Workforce Responsibility course as determined by the Office; (3) implicit bias training or cultural competency training that lasts at least one (1) hour; and (4) at least two (2) hours of other training intended to assist employees in conducting the license’s licensed activities in a manner which protects employee and public safety. (d) Trainings shall happen during the employee’s work hours and the licensee shall pay the employee their usual rate of pay while completing any required training. 293 (e) Licensees shall provide the written operating procedures and employee handbook from the licensee’s operations plan to employees during Responsible Workforce Training. The written operating procedures and employee handbook shall be made available at the licensed premises to employees at all times. (f) Licensees shall: (1) provide adequate supervision of staff, including trainees, by persons familiar with standard operating procedures for the relevant roles and activities; (2) ensure allstaff have demonstrated capability in the activities for which they are responsible; (3) ensure allstaff are fully trained on allstandard operating procedures, including, but not limited to, security and emergency procedures and any procedures related to employee and public health and safety; and (4) have policies and procedures for identifying training needs on an annual basis and providing ongoing training of personnel, for a minimum of four (4) hours per year, to each fulltime employee. (g) Licensees shall use only the specific Cannabis Product Safety and Responsibility course and Cannabis Workplace Responsibility course designated by the Office in Responsible 294 Workforce Training and shall provide such licensee’s own training or contract with third parties for training, pursuant to section 124.3 of this Title, to meet other training requirements in this Title. (h) all trainings required to be provided by licensees to all managers, employees, volunteers, or persons otherwise performing activities under a licensee’s authorizations, under this section or otherwise by the Office, shall be free of charge to the recipient. (i) Training Verification. (1) Licensees shall demonstrate completion of Responsible Workforce Training by each required person. (2) Licensees shall keep records and shall make such records available upon request by the Office, as it relates to training, containing the following information, including, but not limited to: (i) trainee’s name; (ii) trainee’s first date of performing licensed activities; and (iii) the name and description of all trainings satisfactorily completed by trainee; and 295 (iv) Copies of any certificates associated with the trainee’s completion of the Cannabis Product Safety and Responsibility course and Cannabis Workplace Responsibility course and a page for signed and dated documentation demonstrating each employee’s attestation of completion of all Responsible Workforce Training modules.

New York dispensaries must follow strict requirements for their employees, such as:

  • Retailers can't employ anyone under 18.

  • Employees aged 18 to 21 may not deliver cannabis products to consumers or directly interact with customers inside dispensaries or consumption facilities.

Licensees must also ensure that all employees have the necessary education and training for their assigned duties.

  • Responsibility Workforce Training:
    • Licensees are required to provide Responsible Workforce Training to managers, employees, contractors, volunteers, or anyone performing activities under the licensee's authorization.

    • This training must be provided within 30 days of starting licensed activities and is offered at no cost to the recipients.

    • The Responsible Workforce Training includes elements such as Cannabis Product Safety and Responsibility, Cannabis Workforce Responsibility, implicit bias training or cultural competency training, and other training related to employee and public safety.

    • Trainings should occur during work hours, and employees must be compensated at their usual rate during training.

    • Licensees must provide employees with their operating procedures and employee handbook during Responsible Workforce Training.

  • Supervision and ongoing training:
    • Licensees must ensure that staff, including trainees, are adequately supervised by individuals familiar with standard operating procedures.

    • Staff members should demonstrate capability in their assigned activities.

    • All staff must be fully trained on standard operating procedures, including security and emergency procedures.

    • Licensees must have policies for identifying training needs annually and providing at least four hours of ongoing training per year to each full-time employee.

  • Training sources:
    • Licensees must use specific courses designated by the Office for Cannabis Product Safety and Responsibility and Cannabis Workplace Responsibility.

    • Other training requirements can be met through licensee-provided training or third-party contracts.

    • All required training provided by licensees must be free of charge to the recipients.

Cannabis inventory and tracking requirements

Legal reference

§ 125.8 Inventory and Tracking. (a) Licensees shall track all physical inventory of cannabis in an electronic real-time inventory tracking system as determined by the Office. The inventory tracking system shall be capable of showing any cannabis that has been released for sale, to allow for a total recall of all cannabis if necessary. The licensee shall: (1) accurately record all inventory in the inventory tracking system, including identification of base or starting material(s) used to create each batch or lot of cannabis or cannabis products; (2) maintain, in real-time, at a minimum, the following information, in the inventory tracking system: 302 (i) batch or lot unique identifiersfor cannabis and cannabis products; (ii) a complete cannabis and cannabis product inventory, as well as inventory adjustments, from cultivation, processing, transport, laboratory testing, distribution, waste,sale, disposal, product return, or any other activity. The complete inventory shall include, as applicable, all seeds, plant tissue, seedlings, clones, plants, lots of useable cannabis or trim, leaves, other plant material, cannabis extract, cannabis products, and cannabis waste; (iii) for processors, any additives or ingredients used in the processing of cannabis; (iv) all samples sent to an independent testing laboratory, any sample of unused portion of a sample returned to a licensee, and the quality assurance test results in accordance with Part 130 of this Title; (v) all samples provided to another licensee as authorized by the Office; (vi) samples provided to the Office or their designee for quality assurance compliance review; and (vii) any other information as determined by the Office; and (3) utilize an inventory tracking system that is capable of integrating with the Office’s inventory tracking system of record in a form and manner as determined by the Office; 303 (4) physically tag or label all cannabis, cannabis products, cannabis extract, seeds, plant tissue, clone lots, seedlings, immature cannabis plants, and cannabis waste with the unique identifier generated by the inventory tracking system; (5) utilize a standard of measurement that is supported by the inventory tracking system to track all cannabis and cannabis product. A scale used to weigh product prior to entry into the inventory tracking system shall be approved for commercial use in accordance with New York State Bureau of Weights and Measures; (6) track, at a minimum, the following data elements for each activity performed with cannabis and cannabis products: (i) the type of cannabis or cannabis products; (ii) the weight, volume, or count of the cannabis or cannabis products; (iii) the date of activity; (iv) the lot unique identifier assigned to the cannabis or cannabis products; (v) the identification of the employee performing the action in the inventory tracking system; 304 (vi) the type of activity being performed; and (vii) any other information as determined by the Office; and (7) review the licensee’s authorized users and remove any users who are no longer authorized to enter information into the inventory tracking system; and (8) record nursery and cultivation activities as follows: (i) record the following activities in the inventory tracking system within three (3) calendar days of occurrence: (a) planting of an immature cannabis plant lot; (b) moving immature cannabis plants to a designated canopy,flowering of an individual plant, or application of a plant tag to an immature cannabis plant; (c) destroying or disposing of an immature or mature cannabis plant; (d) harvesting of a mature cannabis plant, or portion thereof; and (e) application of pesticides. 305 (ii) report in the inventory tracking system for each harvested plant or portion thereof, or harvest batch: (a) the weight of each harvest batch, which shall indicate whether the weight is the wet weight or dry weight in the report; (b) the weight of cannabis waste associated with each harvest batch; (c) the unique name of the harvest batch; (d) the initiating date of the harvest. For purposes of this section, an initiating date of the harvest shall be the month, day, and year the first mature cannabis plants in the harvest batch were cut, picked, or removed from the soil or other growing media; and (e) the packaging and repackaging of cannabis or cannabis products. (b) Loss of System Access. If at any point a licensee loses access to the inventory tracking system for any reason, the licensee shall keep and maintain comprehensive records detailing all inventory tracking activities that were conducted during the loss of access. (1) Once access is restored, all inventory tracking activities that occurred during the loss of access shall be entered into the inventory tracking system. (2) A licensee shall document when access to the system was lost and when it was restored. 306 (3) A licensee shall not initiate transport for,receive, transfer or deliver any cannabis or cannabis products to another licensed entity until either such time as access is restored and all information is recorded into the inventory tracking system or such time the licensee is approved by the Office to conduct such activities during the loss of access. (4) Within three (3) calendar days of restored access, enter all licensed cannabis activity that occurred during the loss of access into the inventory tracking system. (5) Document the cause for loss of access, as well as the dates and times for when the loss occurred. (6) Document the dates and times for when access to the inventory tracking system was restored. (c) Initial Inventory. A licensee shall conduct an initial comprehensive inventory of all cannabis and cannabis product in the possession of the licensee, including cannabis available for cultivation, cannabis products for sale, immature and mature cannabis plants, and unusable cannabis, at the licensed premises on the date the licensee first engages in licensed activities. 307 (1) Inventory shall include damaged, defective, expired, or adulterated cannabis awaiting disposal, including the name, the quantity, and the reasonsfor which the cannabis licensee is maintaining the cannabis. (2) The initial comprehensive inventory shall be reported to the Office utilizing the inventory tracking system. (d) Licensees shall establish inventory controls and procedures and conduct comprehensive inventories of cannabis and cannabis products which shall include the following; (1) maintaining real-time inventory tracking; (2) conducting a monthly inventory audit of all cannabis and cannabis products; (3) conducting an annual inventory audit at least once every year from the date of the previous inventory; and (4) recording at a minimum, the following, in the inventory tracking system; (i) the name(s) and signature(s) or electronic signature(s) of employee(s) who conducted the inventory audit; (ii) the date of the inventory audit; 308 (iii) summary of inventory findings; and (iv) any other information as determined by the Office. (e) A licensee, upon becoming aware of any significant discrepancy(s) identified during an inventory audit, shall notify the Office no later than twenty-four (24) hours after discovery of the event in a manner prescribed by the Office. Upon comparison of the licensee’s actual inventory to the licensee’s anticipated inventory, as determined by the inventory tracking system, a significant discrepancy,for purposes of this subdivision, shall mean: (1) for a cooperative, tier 3 cultivator, tier 4 cultivator, tier 5 cultivator, ROD, or ROND licensee, a difference in the actual inventory compared to the anticipated inventory of two (2) percent of the anticipated inventory or greater; (2) for a retail dispensary, delivery, or on-site consumption licensee, a difference in the actual inventory compared to the anticipated inventory of: (i) five (5) percent of the anticipated inventory or greater, if the inventory tracking system anticipated an inventory of 1,000 cannabis products or fewer; or (ii) two (2) percent of the anticipated inventory or greater, if the inventory tracking system anticipated an inventory of more than 1,000 cannabis products; or 309 (iii) for a nursery, tier 1 cultivator, tier 2 cultivator, distributor, processor, or microbusiness licensee, a difference in the actual inventory compared to the anticipated inventory of five (5) percent of the anticipated inventory or greater, unless such licensee also holds a cooperative, tier 3 cultivator, tier 4 cultivator, tier 5 cultivator, ROD, or ROND license at the time the discrepancy is discovered, in which case a significant discrepancy shall mean a difference in the actual inventory compared to the anticipated inventory of two (2) percent of the anticipated inventory or greater; (f) A nursery, cultivator, processor, cooperative, ROD, ROND, or microbusiness licensee shall maintain records identifying each agricultural input used in a nursery area, propagation area, or canopy area and each ingredient used in processing. Records shall include: (1) the date of receipt; (2) the vendor's name and address; (3) the name of the ingredient or agricultural input; (4) the vendor’s license, registration or other operating identification number, as applicable; (5) the grade of the ingredient or agricultural input, as applicable; 310 (6) the quantity received; (7) if an agricultural input, the active ingredients, purpose of use, application rate and date, and the name of the person applying the agricultural input; (8) if a pesticide that is not a general use pesticide that is approved by the Office for private application, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation certification number of the person applying the pesticide; and (9) any other information determined by the Office.

Like many other legal cannabis states, New York requires dispensaries to meticulously track cannabis inventory up to the moment it's sold. To simplify this process, many retailers must use an inventory tracking system.

Real-time inventory tracking system:

  • Licensees must track all physical cannabis inventory using an electronic real-time inventory tracking system.

  • The system should allow for tracking cannabis released for sale and enable a total recall of all cannabis if needed.

  • The dispensary's tracking system must maintain real-time information, including batch or lot unique identifiers, complete cannabis and cannabis product inventory, inventory adjustments, and more.

  • For each cannabis activity, licensees must track specific data elements such as product type, weight or volume, date, unique identifiers, employee information, activity type, and more.

  • If a licensee loses access to the tracking system, they must maintain comprehensive records of inventory tracking activities conducted during the loss of access.

  • Note: While BioTrack is the state's designated track and trace platform, dispensaries do not have to use BioTrack for their inventory tracking system. Retailers can choose whatever solution they like, as long as it is compliant with the state and able to transmit data to OCM's BioTrack system.

Accurate record-keeping:

  • Licensees must accurately record all inventory in the tracking system, including the identification of base materials used for each batch of cannabis or cannabis products.

Physical tagging and labeling:

  • All cannabis-related items must be tagged or labeled with a unique identifier generated by the tracking system.

Initial inventory:

  • Licensees must conduct an initial comprehensive inventory of all cannabis and cannabis products when they first engage in licensed activities.

  • This inventory must be reported to the Office using the tracking system.

Inventory controls and audits:

Notification of discrepancies:

  • Licensees must notify the Office of significant discrepancies in inventory within 24 hours of discovery.

  • The definition of a significant discrepancy varies depending on the type of licensee.

New York cannabis laws FAQs

Do dispensaries have to use BioTrack?

While BioTrack is New York's designated track and trace platform, dispensaries do not have to use BioTrack for their inventory tracking system. Retailers can choose whatever solution they like, as long as it is compliant with the state and able to transmit data to OCM's BioTrack system.

When you're looking for an inventory tracking system or cannabis POS, be sure to ask if they're able to submit data to OCM's BioTrack system via the NY API.

Is cannabis legal in New York?

Yes, cannabis has been legal for medical use in New York since 2016 and the state legalized recreational cannabis for anyone 21 and older in 2021.

How much weed can I buy in New York?

Adults 21 and older can possess up to three ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis for personal use in New York, including New York City.

To learn more about adult-use cannabis in New York, visit https://cannabis.ny.gov/adult-use

How do I open a dispensary in New York?

Opening a dispensary in the New York cannabis industry involves a series of steps, including:

  • Applying for and obtaining a license

  • Determining a location

  • Hiring staff

  • Understanding compliance requirements

  • Sourcing and stocking inventory

  • Choosing the right tech stack

  • Marketing your business

Learn full details about how to open a dispensary in New York.

How much is weed taxed in New York?

If you make retail sales of adult-use cannabis products, a retail tax of 13% on the amount charged for the sale or transfer is imposed.

Can I go to a dispensary without a card in NY?

Adults 21 and over can legally visit any licensed adult-use dispensary in New York without a medical cannabis card.

Is Flowhub compliant for New York dispensaries?

Yes! Flowhub serves a number of licensed New York dispensaries and is fully compliant with the state’s unique regulations and laws. We enable New York dispensaries to report to BioTrack's system in real-time, keeping retailers compliant with state laws at all times.

The advantage of choosing Flowhub for your dispensary's POS, inventory tracking, and payments is the reliability of our modern platform, called Maui. Flowhub Maui is 20x faster and boasts a 99% uptime status, it's also built for cannabis retailers – like you!

Learn more about Flowhub in New York.

Disclaimer: The material contained on this website and any attached or referenced pages has been compiled by Flowhub for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be and is not considered to be legal advice. This post is current as of 10/10/2023. Cannabis regulations are rapidly changing, and legal advice of any nature should be sought from legal counsel.

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