Buying cannabis in New York right now is as sticky as that first post-hit dry mouth moment.
Consumers, farmers, and entrepreneurs alike are well past eager to take full advantage of the legal recreational cannabis market in New York. Yet, consumers and sellers are still waiting on regulations to be put in place in order to purchase and sell recreational cannabis. Right now, New Yorkers 21 years or older can legally possess up to 3 ounces (or 24 grams of concentrated cannabis, such as oils derived from a cannabis plant) of cannabis for recreational use.
But where and when can New Yorkers purchase weed legally?
Over a year ago New York State decriminalized cannabis, and now consumers, farmers, and sellers are in a state of limbo.
What they’re waiting for is the issuance of a series of licenses. The first, the Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License, was enacted on February 22, 2022. This license authorizes eligible hemp growers to apply for a license to grow cannabis containing over 0.3% THC and permits cannabis farming outdoors or in a greenhouse for two years from the date of issue. This also allows the licensee to manufacture and distribute cannabis flower products without holding an Adult-Use Processor or Distributor License until June 1, 2023.
The anticipated Adult-Use Retail Dispensary, Cooperative, and Microbusiness Licenses will authorize entrepreneurs to sell recreational cannabis products in a retail setting throughout New York. The Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act specifies April 1, 2022, as the earliest that the sale of recreational cannabis can begin. However, NYS will not have licenses issued by that date. The closest official date from the Office of Cannabis Management for announcing licenses for retail cannabis businesses is spring 2023.
Once these licenses are given, consumers will still have to wait some time for brick-and-mortar stores, dispensaries, street trucks, clubs, and deliveries to materialize. This wait has resulted in entrepreneurs all over New York trying a myriad of ways to get their products to customers through methods as close to the law as possible.
Since legalization passed, the concept of “gifting” has become the most popular way to sell cannabis. This concept allows a business to sell a service or product and include the cannabis product as a gift. The Office of Cannabis Management made it clear that “There is no ‘grey area’ in the law on this issue.” In theory, these sales may get around the current regulations, but they do not account for the safety regulations that ensure the quality of your product and are therefore illegal.
As of February, several suspected sellers in New York were served with cease-and-desist letters. The Office of Cannabis Management sent over two dozen letters to such businesses selling cannabis without a license, including those “gifting” cannabis. In addition, landlords accommodating these businesses in sales may be denied the ability to lease to dispensaries and on-site consumption lounges once licenses are available. Failure to comply could mean these businesses may be denied a license later, along with the accompanying fines and criminal penalties.
Until New York Gives Out Retail Licenses:
New York Indian Nations are selling legally due to their sovereign status; around twenty dispensaries have opened since New York legalized cannabis. With the MRTA legislation, New York expanded the qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana certification to any condition your provider believes can be treated with medical cannabis, and more dispensaries have since opened their doors.
A few active Native American-owned dispensaries:
Best Buds, Hogansburg, NY
Doogies Smoke Shop, Irving, NY
Good Leaf Dispensary, Gowanda, NY, and Salamanca, NY
High 5 Dispensary, Perrysburg, NY
Green Dino Dispensary, Lewiston, NY
Underground Geneticz, Irving, NY
Opt for the medical route:
Patients must bring their registry ID cards and certifications. Patients can now purchase a 60-day supply of cannabis in forms specified by their doctor.
Find a practitioner or medical dispensary on the Office of Cannabis Management website.
The Office of Cannabis Management is working on what they call “cannabis conversations” that will result in the final license and regulations for the distribution of cannabis. Making medical marijuana more accessible has widened the purchase of weed, but it has also left businesses in limbo. As licenses are provided and dispensaries, clubs, and delivery services open, watch our dispensaries list, the OCM website, and our news page for updates.