top of page
how to open a dispensary in new york

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Open
a Dispensary in New York in 2024

New York Cannabis Industry Overview

Are you considering opening a dispensary in New York? Green Rush Consulting can help you secure your license successfully. It's important to understand the legal requirements and necessary investments involved. To operate in compliance with state regulations, you'll need to secure a location that adheres to zoning laws, demonstrate financial stability, develop a comprehensive business plan covering security, transportation, packaging, and labeling, and acquire appropriate insurance policies. Keep in mind that dispensaries in New York will be subject to state and local taxes, as well as ongoing compliance obligations. Although the potential profits can be substantial, success in this field requires careful planning and a willingness to adapt to the ever-changing legal landscape. In this article you will find information on how to open a dispensary and some of the FAQ's that are associated with it.

What are the costs for opening a dispensary in New York?

If you're interested in opening a dispensary in New York, it's important to understand the costs involved. To obtain a conditional adult-use New York dispensary license, you'll need to pay $2,000. However, the actual cost of opening and operating a dispensary can range from $400,000 to $1,000,000, depending on factors such as the size and location of the facility, furnishings, and inventory. Ensuring you have an adequate supply of high-quality cannabis products on the shelves is crucial for meeting customer demand and driving sales. By creating a comprehensive budget and plan, you can position your dispensary for success in the competitive New York market.

Is a license required to operate a dispensary in New York?

Yes, a license is required to operate a dispensary in New York. In fact, New York State recently legalized recreational marijuana, but the licenses for dispensaries are currently being issued. The state is most likely to have their open recreational process coming in 2023.

There are several types of licenses that will be available, including those for cultivators, processors, distributors, and dispensaries. The requirements and application process will vary depending on the type of license being sought.

To be eligible for a dispensary license, an applicant must be at least 21 years old and meet certain financial and residency requirements. In addition, they must have a location secured and meet certain zoning requirements.

Once the application process is complete and a license is obtained, dispensaries will be able to sell marijuana products to consumers who are 21 years or older. However, there will be strict regulations in place regarding the sale and distribution of these products.

Overall, operating a dispensary in New York requires a significant amount of preparation and effort, but it can be a lucrative business for those who are successful in obtaining a license. It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest regulations and requirements in order to ensure compliance with the law.

Adult-Use Cannabis Business Licenses in New York: Types, Requirements, and Fees

If you're interested in starting an adult-use cannabis business in New York, it's important to understand the available licenses. There are currently three types of conditional adult-use licenses available, including the Conditional Adult-Use New York Cultivator License and the Conditional Adult-Use New York Processor License.

To apply for the Conditional Adult-Use New York Cultivator License, you'll need to submit an application and pay a non-refundable fee of $2,000. The New York Cannabis Commission provides detailed requirements on their Cultivator Page, as well as the application itself.

Meanwhile, the Conditional Adult-Use New York Processor License also requires a non-refundable fee of $2,000 for applications. As a licensee, you'll be able to process cannabis products containing over 0.3% THC for the Adult-Use Cannabis Program. You'll also be authorized to distribute cannabis products to licensed adult-use retail dispensaries until June 1, 2023. After this date, you'll need to apply for a separate distributor license to continue distributing cannabis products.

By understanding the requirements and fees associated with each type of license, you can make an informed decision about the best path forward for your adult-use cannabis business in New York.

New York Office of Cannabis Management

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act established the New York Office of Cannabis Management to oversee the state's newly legalized cannabis industry. The office will work closely with the Cannabis Control Board, whose members will be appointed by the state, to develop regulations and issue licenses. For the latest updates on the cannabis industry in New York, be sure to follow the Office of Cannabis Management on Twitter.

What legal requirements must be met to open a dispensary in New York?

With the legalization of recreational marijuana in New York, many entrepreneurs are considering opening a dispensary. However, before you can start selling marijuana, there are several legal requirements that must be met.

Firstly, it's important to note that the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) is the regulatory body for marijuana in the state. All dispensary applicants must be registered with the OCM, and they must complete the application process to be considered for a dispensary license.


Once you have applied, the OCM will verify that all of your business partners and employees are over 21 years of age and have no prior drug convictions. Furthermore, you must have a lease or agreement for the location of the dispensary. The location must be at least 500 feet away from schools and other designated areas.

Additionally, applicants must show documentation of their financial standing and a plan for their business operations. Specifically, they must have a plan for security, transportation, packaging, and labeling of products. The OCM will also require a detailed description of the dispensary's inventory and supply chain. Dispensaries must obtain all of their products from licensed producers or distributors. In addition, all products must be tested and labeled with their THC and CBD content. Once you have been approved, you will be required to pay a license fee and an annual renewal fee. It’s also important to note that dispensaries will be subject to state and local.

What zoning regulations apply to dispensaries in New York?

As of April 2021, New York State has legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, which means that dispensaries are now allowed to operate in certain areas. However, these dispensaries are subject to various zoning regulations that are designed to ensure that they are located in appropriate locations and that they do not negatively impact the surrounding community.

The specific zoning regulations that apply to dispensaries in New York may vary depending on the local government's ordinances and regulations. However, in general, dispensaries are required to comply with zoning regulations that govern the following:

1. Land use: Dispensaries are typically subject to regulations that govern the use of land in a particular area. This may include restrictions on the type of business that can operate in certain zones, as well as the size and type of building that can be constructed.

2. Distance requirements: Many local governments require dispensaries to be located a certain distance away from schools, parks, and other sensitive areas. These distance requirements help to ensure that dispensaries are not located in areas where they could negatively impact the health and safety of children or other vulnerable populations.

3. Parking and traffic: Dispensaries are often required to provide a certain number of parking spaces, and they must comply with regulations regarding the flow of traffic in and out of the facility. These regulations help to ensure that dispensaries do not cause congestion or safety hazards in the surrounding area.

4. Security: Dispensaries are required to implement security measures that protect their customers, employees, and the surrounding community

Are there any insurance requirements for dispensaries in New York?

Yes, there are insurance requirements for dispensaries in New York. The New York State Department of Health requires medical marijuana dispensaries to carry several types of insurance policies to ensure proper protection and coverage for patients, staff, and the business itself.

The minimum required insurance policies for dispensaries in New York include general liability insurance, property insurance, and product liability insurance. General liability insurance covers bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury claims. Property insurance protects against damage or loss of property due to theft, fire, or other disasters. Product liability insurance covers any claims arising from the use of medical marijuana products sold at the dispensary.

Dispensaries in New York must also carry workers' compensation insurance to provide coverage for employees who may be injured on the job. Additionally, dispensaries are required to carry cybersecurity insurance to protect against data breaches and other cyber threats. It is important for dispensaries to carefully review their insurance coverage and ensure that they are meeting all of the state's requirements. Failure to comply with insurance requirements could lead to fines, penalties, and legal issues.

In summary, dispensaries in New York are required to carry several types of insurance to ensure proper protection and coverage for patients, staff, and the business itself. The minimum required policies include general liability, property, product liability, workers' compensation, and cybersecurity insurance. It is essential for dispensaries to carefully review their insurance coverage to avoid any legal issues or penalties.

Are there any special taxes or fees that apply to dispensaries in New York?

Yes, there are special taxes and fees that apply to dispensaries in New York. The state imposes a 7% excise tax on the gross receipts of licensed dispensaries, which is in addition to any state and local sales taxes that may be applicable. Additionally, dispensaries are required to pay an annual registration fee of $10,000 to the state Department of Health. Local municipalities may also impose additional fees or taxes on dispensaries operating within their jurisdiction. It is important to consult with a legal professional to ensure compliance with all applicable taxes and fees.

Are there any safety regulations that must be met for a New York dispensary?

Yes, there are several safety regulations that must be met for a New York dispensary. The New York State Department of Health has set forth requirements for the security, storage, transportation, and labeling of cannabis products sold in dispensaries. These regulations are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of patients and employees, as well as prevent unauthorized access and misuse of cannabis products.

Dispensaries must have secure storage areas for cannabis products, including locked safes or vaults. They must also have surveillance systems in place, including cameras that record all areas where cannabis products are stored, prepared, dispensed, or discarded. Access to the dispensary's storage areas must also be restricted to authorized personnel only. Additionally, dispensaries must follow strict labeling requirements for all cannabis products sold. These requirements include the product's name, dosage, potency, and any potential allergens or contaminants. The labeling must also include information on how to properly use the product and any potential side effects.

Are there restrictions on the types of products that can be sold in a New York dispensary?

Yes, there are restrictions on the types of products that can be sold in a New York medical dispensary. Under the state's medical marijuana program, dispensaries are only allowed to sell approved medical marijuana products, which include capsules, liquids, oils, and topicals. Smoking marijuana is still prohibited in New York, so dispensaries cannot sell any form of smokable cannabis products like flower or pre-rolls. Additionally, dispensaries are only permitted to sell products that have been approved by the Department of Health's Medical Marijuana Program, so any products not on the approved list cannot be sold. It is important for entrepreneurs interested in opening a dispensary in New York to familiarize themselves with the state's regulations and restrictions on product sales to ensure compliance and avoid any legal issues.

What restrictions does New York impose on advertising for dispensaries?

New York imposes strict restrictions on advertising for dispensaries. All advertising materials including billboards, flyers, social media, and websites must contain a disclaimer stating that marijuana can be harmful to health and that it is for medical use only. Additionally, advertisements must not be targeted towards minors or show the consumption of marijuana. Dispensaries are also prohibited from advertising any discounts or promotions on medical marijuana products. It is important for entrepreneurs interested in opening a dispensary in New York to fully understand and comply with these advertising restrictions to avoid any legal consequences.

Social Equity in New York's Legalized Cannabis Industry

New York's newly legalized cannabis industry includes provisions for social equity, with 50% of licenses reserved for "social equity applicants." These applicants are individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, such as minorities, women-owned businesses, distressed farmers, and service-disabled veterans. Lieutenant Governor Hochul has expressed support for these measures, emphasizing the importance of being on the right side of history. The Office of Cannabis Management is committed to ensuring equity in the licensing process while moving forward as quickly as possible. This sets New York apart from other states that have struggled to provide equitable access to the cannabis industry. 

In June 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the creation of the New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, worth $200 million. The fund will be managed by Social Equity Impact Ventures, LLC, a leading minority-led investment team. These measures demonstrate New York's commitment to promoting social equity and diversity in its rapidly growing cannabis industry.

If you're interested in learning more about the social equity provisions in New York's cannabis industry or need help navigating the licensing process, contact us today. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping you succeed in this exciting new market.


In conclusion, opening a dispensary in New York is a complex and highly regulated process that requires significant preparation, investment, and compliance with legal requirements. Eligibility to operate a dispensary in New York requires meeting a range of criteria, including securing a suitable location, demonstrating financial stability, developing a comprehensive business plan, and obtaining necessary licenses and permits.


Additionally, dispensaries must stay up-to-date with evolving regulations and ensure ongoing compliance to maintain eligibility and receive proper certification. With careful planning and a commitment to meeting all legal requirements, those who are eligible to operate a dispensary in New York can enter a potentially lucrative market and provide patients with access to high-quality medical cannabis products.


Green Rush Consulting provides the highest quality and most comprehensive services to help you open a dispensary in New York successfully. Please fill out our contact form to get started and one of our experts will be in contact you immediately. 

Get started today!

Thanks for submitting, we will be in touch soon

Estimated market size

Estimates put the state's total cannabis market at $4.6 billion in annual sales (this includes the state's illicit market). The legal cannabis industry is expected to capture $1.2 billion in sales by 2023 and $4.2 billion by 2027. - Forbes

how to start a marijuana business new york

If you are just starting your marijuana business, the next best step is to visit the Green Rush Store to help educate your team and be ready to apply for a marijuana business license. If you are ready to apply for a Marijuana Business License in New York, please Contact us or call our offices to set an appointment to get started. You can also select another State Opportunity, or fill out our Contact Form to discuss potential strategies such as Investment or Partnership Opportunities. 

bottom of page