7 WAYS TO GET PRIORITY GRADING IN NEW YORK’S CANNABIS BUSINESS LICENSING PROGRAM

Did you know there are 7 ways to get priority grading on your cannabis business license application in New York? That’s right! The New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has made a point to establish a cannabis licensing program that prioritizes and provides resources to individuals that the OCM has determined to be “social and economic equity applicants.” (Cannabis.NY.gov). This program focuses on a goal to award 50% of all adult-use licenses to social and economic equity applicants, which include the following 7 categories:

  • Individuals from Communities Disproportionately Impacted by the Enforcement of Cannabis Prohibition

🍃A disproportionately impacted community is one that has a history of arrests, convictions, and other law enforcement practices in a certain geographic area, such as (1) precincts, (2) zip codes, (3) neighborhoods, and (4) political subdivisions, reflecting a disparate enforcement of cannabis prohibition during a certain time period, when compared to the rest of the state.

🍃The Cannabis Control Board (CCB) will issue guidelines to determine how these individuals can qualify

  • Minority-Owned Businesses

🍃 Includes sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLC’s, or corporations

🍃 At least 51% owned by 1 or more minority individuals

🍃 Minorities include:

  • Black persons having origins in any of the Black African racial groups;
  • Hispanic persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, Central or South American of either Indian or Hispanic origin, regardless of race;
  • Native American or Alaskan native persons having origins in any of the original peoples of North America; or
  • Asian and Pacific Islander persons having origins in any of the far east countries, south east Asia, the Indian subcontinent or the Pacific islands.

🍃 The minority ownership must be real, substantial, and continuing

🍃 The minority ownership must have and exercise the authority to control independently the day-to-day business decisions of the enterprise

🍃 The enterprise is authorized to do business in New York and is independently owned and operated 

🍃 Must be considered a “small business”

  • Woman-Owned Business

🍃 Includes sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLC’s, or corporations

🍃 At least 51% owned by 1 or more U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens who are women

🍃 The female ownership must be real, substantial, and continuing

🍃 The female ownership must have and exercise the authority to control independently the day-to-day business decisions of the enterprise

🍃 The enterprise is authorized to do business in New York and is independently owned and operated 

🍃 Must be considered a “small business”

🍃 NOTE: Though the CCB considers permanent resident aliens, please consider the risks of having ownership in a cannabis business and how that may affect citizenship

  • Minority- and Woman-Owned Business

🍃 If you are a woman minority group member, you can qualify under both a minority- and a woman-owned business. 

  • Distressed Farmers

🍃This category is for only NY State residents or business enterprises, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, or corporations

🍃You must meet the small farm classification developed by the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture

🍃 You have filed a schedule F with farm receipts for the last 3 years

🍃 You qualify for an agriculture assessment 

🍃 You meet other qualifications defined in regulation by the board to demonstrate that you operate a farm operation as defined in section 301 Agriculture and Markets Law 

🍃 You or your enterprise has been disproportionately impacted, including but not limited to incurring operating losses, by low commodity prices and faces the loss of farmland through development or suburban sprawl

🍃 You may also qualify here if you are a member of a group that has been historically underrepresented in farm ownership 

🍃 NOTE: The CCB can define other qualifications in this category

  • Service-Disabled Veterans

🍃Includes sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLC’s, or corporations

🍃 At least 51% owned by 1 or more service-disabled veterans

🍃 The service-disabled veteran ownership must be real, substantial, and continuing

🍃 The service-disabled veteran ownership must have and exercise the authority to control independently the day-to-day business decisions of the enterprise

🍃 The enterprise is authorized to do business in New York and is independently owned and operated 

🍃 Must be considered a “small business”

  • Has a significant business presence in NY
  • Is not dominant in its field 
  • Employs, based on its industry, a certain number of persons as determined by the director, but not to exceed 300 person, 
  • Must also qualify under federal Small Business Administration (SBA) standards pursuant to 13 CFR part 121 
  • Certified by the office of general services.

  • Extra Priority Category

🍃 You are a member of a community disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition

🍃 Have an income lower than eighty percent of the median income of the county in which the applicant resides; 

🍃 You were convicted of a cannabis-related offense, or had a parent, guardian, child, spouse, or dependent, or was a dependent of an individual who was convicted of a cannabis-related offense.

Licenses issued under this plan cannot be transferred or sold within the first 3 years of issuance, except to another qualified social and economic equity applicant with approval from the CCB.

You will also be required to develop and implement a social responsibility framework, which is designed to contribute to communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition and to annually report this progress to the CCB.

 

Want to confirm that you qualify for a priority grade? Have questions about what the best next steps may be? Contact Canna Business Services for a free 15-minute consultation to learn more about the New York adult-use cannabis industry!

 

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