Cannabis Licensing and Business Development Practice Area

Our well-established liquor licensing practice and extensive community board experience specifically in New York, coupled with our Government Affairs team, uniquely positions us to leverage our knowledge and relationships in the competitive application process with the Office of Cannabis Management.

SRC is able to provide comprehensive and experienced legal counsel to New York cannabis businesses in all aspects from the ground up to make sure clients are able to safely navigate New York’s adult-use cannabis program with an in-depth understanding of all integral elements of licensure and running a compliant business.

By understanding the complexities of New York’s licensure procedures, the attorneys and professionals at SRC are able to diligently guide clients towards establishing state-compliant cannabis businesses. SRC is fully equipped to assist your legal and government needs in New York’s rapidly expanding cannabis licensing and regulatory system.

SRC attorneys and professionals have specific experience pertinent to clients participating in or otherwise involved with the cannabis industry, including:

  • Regulatory & Licensing
    • Licenses to grow, process or dispense adult-use marijuana, medical marijuana and hemp
    • Assessment of business and individual risks under federal and state cannabis-related laws, regulations and guidance
    • Administrative matters pertaining to licensure
  • Government Affairs
    • Initial consultation to understand your needs and issues
    • Ongoing consultations with the client to formulate an appropriate and comprehensive government affairs plan and provide updates
    • Lobbying all pertinent State legislators and officials
    • Meeting with relevant state legislators to advocate on your behalf
    • Drafting of any specific legislative, legal or regulatory language
    • Participating in all necessary meetings with state officials to advocate for the desired measures
    • Providing detailed bill tracking, regulatory tracking and analysis, email updates, and action recommendations
    • Providing counsel and compliance services with respect to the vast array of lobbying filings with the Commission on Ethics & Lobbying in Government and other local lobbying entities. Theresa Russo, the Co-Managing Partner of SRC is one of the State’s premier Lobby Law Compliance Attorneys and has provided legal assistance on many lobbying compliance matters for SRC clients
  • Corporate
    • Corporate formation and structure, addressing complexities resulting from state-specific statutes and the conflict between federal and state law
    • Mergers and acquisitions
    • Partnership and operating agreements
  • Labor and Employment
    • Workplace training
    • National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
  • Public and Community Relations
  • Real Estate and Construction
    • Zoning and land use
    • Leasing and landlord/tenant matters
  • Health Law
    • Medical and Hospital compliance

Meet our SRC Cannabis Practice Team Leaders

What is the MRTA?

The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was signed into law by New York’s Governor Cuomo on March 31, 2021. The MRTA regulates use (for adults 21 and older), production, and sale of marijuana in New York. It also establishes the Office of Cannabis Management.

What is the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM)?

The OCM is an independent sector of the alcoholic beverage control division responsible for licensing cultivators, processors, distributors, and dispensaries. The OCM will promulgate rules and regulations for adult-use. The OCM’s Executive Director is Christopher Alexander and the Chief Equity Officer is Jason Starr. The OCM will be overseen by a five-member Cannabis Control Board (CCB): Tremaine Wright (chair), Adam Perry, Jen Metzger, Reuben McDaniel III, and Jessica Garcia.

The OCM holds regular meetings, recordings of its recent meetings can be viewed on their website.

NY Cannabis Licensing Designed To Bolster Social Equity

Approximately half of cannabis business licenses will issue to social and economic equity applicants, including individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition. Further, priority will be given to minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned businesses, and financially distressed farmers. Tax revenue generated will be used to fund research on the impact of cannabis legalization on public health and safety, youth use, and NY’s economy.

On January 5, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that she would create a $200 million public-private fund to support social equity applicants as they plan for and build out their businesses by providing direct capital and startup financing. This is to help ensure diversity and inclusivity in New York’s cannabis industry. This fund will be seeded with licensing fees and tax revenue.

Cannabis License Categories

Under the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (“MRTA”), a new government entity was created to license the cultivation, processing, distribution, sale, and delivery of cannabis in New York State. Each commercial activity involving adult-use cannabis will require a license. Accordingly, because the law generally limits (1) vertical integration and (2) the number and type of licenses that a person may hold, businesses will have to seriously consider which license type best serves their goals, interests, and abilities.

Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary License Application

The OCM Board approved the application individuals will need to complete to apply for a conditional adult-use retail dispensary license. The full 51-page draft application can be found here: