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New York Cultivation License

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Overview

Engaging in large-scale cannabis cultivation for the adult-use market requires a cannabis cultivation license. This license allows the holder to acquire, possess, cultivate, trim, harvest, dry and cure cannabis at a licensed cultivation premises. Cultivators can sell cannabis to New York licensed processors, microbusinesses, and research license holders. Cultivators can simultaneously hold a processor license or a distribution license, or all three at once.

New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) requires that all current Adult-Use Conditional Cultivators (AUCC) and Processors (AUCP) transition to non-conditional licenses before June 2024. Following this date, all future cultivation license applications will be non-conditional.

What Does New York’s Cannabis Cultivation License Allow?

In addition to possessing, cultivating, trimming, harvesting, drying, and curing cannabis at a licensed cultivation site, cultivators can supply cannabis to licensed processors, microbusinesses, and research license holders in New York. Cultivators can also:

  • Transfer cannabis plants to a processor for the purpose of processing, without losing ownership of the cannabis.

     

  • If a cultivation license holder also has a processing license, they can purchase cannabis from other cultivators to process at their own facility. They can also purchase clones, seedlings, cloned propagation material, tissue culture, cannabis seeds, and other immature cannabis plants (including mother plants) from a nursery.

     

  • New York Cultivator license holders and its TPI’s can be a TPI in a nursery, processor, or distributor license.

General Application & Eligibility Requirements

One of the biggest challenges is finding and securing a suitable site for cultivation operations. Cultivators need to provide evidence of their control over the intended cultivation premises and provide a certificate of occupancy or its equivalent before they can begin cultivating under a license. Licensees must disclose all premises where any cultivation and cannabis related activities will occur during the application process.

All applications for New York cannabis licenses must be completed online through the state government’s portal. Applicants are required to provide detailed information, including business formation documents, operational plans, security plans, and more. Additional general application requirements include:

  • All license holders must be 21 years of age or older.

     

  • Applicants must not be disqualified from holding a license under the Cannabis Law or regulations, as outlined in Section 137 of New York State cannabis adult-use regulations or True Parties of Interest (TPI) prohibitions.

     

  • No disqualifying criminal convictions are allowed, including:
    • Any business-related felony conviction within the last five years, such as fraud, money laundering, forgery, and similar offenses.
    • Any felony conviction within the past 5 years related to controlled substances and minors, such as involving activities with minors in transporting, selling, or distributing controlled substances.

Cultivation Tiers, Canopy Styles & Expenses

The size and scale of a cultivator’s operation determines the tier and associated fees. This is broken up between indoor, outdoor, mixed-light, and adult-use combination cultivation.

Each New York cannabis license application has an additional &1,000 application fee.

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Operational Requirements

There are a variety of operational requirements that cannabis cultivation license holders must meet before and during operations. These operational plans must be in place prior to licensure. Creating operational plans is one of the most challenging components of the license application process. 

The following points outline some of the operational requirements necessary for compliance, but it is not exhaustive of every operational requirement necessary. To be sure you’re meeting the operational requirements and providing compliant documents as a part of your application, get in touch with CannDelta today!

  • Cultivators must take steps that promote agricultural regeneration and biodiversity using methods including but not limited to intercropping, crop rotation, planting or promoting native plants, providing habitats for native animals, and more. These efforts must be disclosed to the OCM.

  • Must have an identification system in place to track and monitor cannabis and cannabis products through different stages in the supply-chain.

  • Keep drying areas clean, well-ventilated, and free from contaminants when drying cannabis. Ensure buildings have proper environmental controls to prevent bacterial or mold growth and are large enough to accommodate the volume of cannabis being dried.

  • Cultivators must provide site plans disclosing details about propagation areas, nursery areas, pesticide and agricultural chemical storage areas, drying areas, harvest storage areas, and more.

  • A separate site plan will need to be in place to designate areas for any onsite packaging, composting, and secure waste storage.

  • Operational procedures regarding soil preparation, preventative measures to combat pests, and safe and compliant storage of chemicals and pesticides must be in place. 

Immature Plants

Cultivators must label each group of immature cannabis plants with a ‘lot’ plant tag, including at least the cultivar name and lot name or barcode. Each tagged lot must be uniform in cultivar and contain a maximum of 100 immature cannabis plants at any given time.

Plants must have lot unique identifiers that are visible to someone standing beside the plant, and the plants must be placed next to each other in the lot itself. Alternatively, plants can be placed in separate lots which would eliminate the need for unique identifier labels.

Plants must be tagged within three calendar days from the date they were received, and they need to be tagged by the time they’re being moved into a canopy area or when the plant begins flowering.

Mature Plants

Mature cannabis plants need ‘plant tags’, which must be attached to the base of the plant’s primary stem. The tags must be placed in such a way so that they are visible to someone standing beside the plant.

The tag must remain on the plant until it is harvested or disposed of.

Harvested Plants

Cultivators must record harvests, harvest periods, harvested plants that are hanging, drying, or curing. Each batch must have a unique batch name that is recorded in the cultivator’s inventory tracking system. The batch names must be the same between the physical batch and what is tracked in the inventory management system.

Any harvested plants that are being stored in containers need to have the batch name displayed on the outside of the container. All containers need to be placed next to each other.

Restrictions & Limitations

  • Cultivators are bound to the restrictions imposed by their canopy type and license tier.

  • Some additional restrictions and limitations include:

  • A cultivator cannot be a TPI in more than one New York cultivator license or microbusiness license.

  • Pesticides can only be applied by those that are certified by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a pesticide applicator or technician, or an apprentice of someone meeting the previously mentioned criteria.

  • Cultivators can only use general pesticides that are approved by the OCM.

  • Cannot extend outside of their canopy tier’s designated area without the appropriate license.

Record Keeping & Reporting

  • A cultivator must document all agricultural inputs utilized during cultivation, including beneficial insects, pesticides, fertilizers, soil amendments, and other plant protection products. These records must be entered into the licensee’s inventory tracking system.

  • Harvested cannabis must be able to be linked to lot number or the date it was harvested. This information needs to be available to the OCM in the event it is requested.

  • Monthly energy and water consumption, on-site generation, and waste information must be reported to the OCM.

  • The dry weight of cannabis yielded must be reported annually for the previous year. This weight calculation should not include stalks, stems, and fan leaves.

Cannabis Product Storage

  • It’s essential to have secure, lockable storage to prevent the theft, loss, or tampering of cannabis products. The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) must approve these storage areas. Keys should not be left in locks or placed where they can be easily found. Only authorized personnel should have access to the storage units, whether access is via combination passwords or other methods.

  • All growing areas must be locked and guarded to limit access, except when cannabis is being added or removed.

  • A dedicated, secure area is required for the temporary holding of cannabis designated for disposal.

  • Storage spaces should not be visible to the public.

  • Cultivation license holders are subject to many additional storage regulations, which vary based on the license’s authorized activities. Understanding and adhering to these regulations is crucial for a successful cultivation application and compliant operation. Ignoring these storage rules can lead to severe consequences, including the shutdown of facilities.

General Security Requirements

  • Every facility must implement sufficient security measures to identify and prevent the theft and loss of products and equipment. The basic security requirements include:

  • Internally monitored alarm systems, along with monitoring by an external third-party central station.

  • An alarm system that notifies local safety agencies such as the police, fire department, private security firms, and any other necessary organizations based on the licensed activities.

  • Comprehensive video surveillance covering key areas. Cameras should focus on safes, vaults, points of sale, and all areas related to cultivation. This encompasses places where cannabis is grown, processed, dried, cured, stored, disposed of, processed, transported, or sold. Additionally, cameras must cover all entrances and exits. Video footage should be stored for at least 60 days and must be accessible to the OCM for inspection when requested. The microbusiness license application and security report will outline further specific requirements for video surveillance.

  • A fence or an OCM-approved breach protection system must encircle the site’s boundary.

  • Motion-activated flood lights should be installed.

  • Detailed logs of all visitors and employees entering and exiting the facility.

  • Anyone applying for a cultivation license will need to carefully review the OCM’s security requirements for all specific details regarding cultivation facilities.

Why Work With CannDelta?

CannDelta stands as the #1 cannabis consulting firm in New York, renowned for its adeptness at navigating the state’s complex regulatory landscape. We assist our clients in overcoming the hurdles that hinder the launch of a successful cannabis business. Our offerings encompass thorough application assistance, strategic location selection, cultivation application support, development of competitive strategies, and much more.

In the fast-evolving cannabis industry of New York, CannDelta provides crucial expertise and advice, enabling both new entrepreneurs and established entities to flourish in this expanding market. Discover the benefits of launching a cannabis business in New York by reaching out to us today using our New York phone number:

+1 646-440-4202

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting a New York Cultivator license will require a compliant application submission to the OCM, application approval form the OCM. The applicant will need to have a thorough understanding of the OCM’s regulatory requirements to ensure they are submitting a deficiency free application. Submitting a growing license application involves the creation of detailed documents and plans often requiring professional assistance.

Yes, you can grow cannabis containing both THC and CBD in New York. Doing so will require a cultivation license or a nursery license depending on the size and scale of the operation you plan to have.

As of early 2024, the OCM has distributed 270 conditional cultivator licenses. All conditional cultivators must convert their license to non-conditional license before June 2024.

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