How to start a commercial grow operation in New York

New York, the focal point of the United States, took a while to catch up to the West Coast when it comes to marijuana laws, but it did.

New York legalized adult-use marijuana in 2021 and is currently planning to license cannabis businesses. However, as of March 2022, those details are not available.

Until then, we can only share what we know. This article addresses licensing for medical marijuana businesses.

The application window for opening a medical marijuana cultivation business in the state of New York is currently closed. That said, the opportunity to start a cannabis business will open again in the near future.

For that reason, it is a good idea to get a good understanding of the rules and regulations now so that you are prepared to open your grow operation in New York when the time comes.

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    Recreational marijuana became legal in New York in March 2021. Prior to that, in 2014, New York legalized medical marijuana.

    Through this legislation, patients with qualified, registered conditions could legally use medical marijuana. Cultivation companies were also legalized at the same time, allowing businesses to begin growing medical marijuana, as long as they follow the stringent New York laws.


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    The window for the acceptance of applications was opened right off the bat, but it was only open for a little while (until June 2015).

    However, in the first half of 2017, the state reached out to applicants that had not been selected in the first round and gave out five new licenses.

    In terms of new licenses, New York plans to offer social equity licenses and prioritize them over other applications.

    Marijuana Business
    Marijuana Business

    How many marijuana businesses are there currently in the state

    At the moment, ten medical marijuana grow operations are currently running within the state limits of New York. Officially, only 5 growing operations were allowed to be licensed.

    Even though the patient base had not grown significantly enough by the beginning of 2017, the state opted to license five additional grow operations, thus frustrating the five original licensees.

    Competition is therefore tight between the growing operations in New York.

    Nonetheless, the purpose of giving out additional licenses is to allow for all patients within New York to have easy access to the medicine they need.

    Therefore, although it tightens the competition for medical marijuana grow operations, it expands the accessibility to individual patients. The hope is that this will, in turn, encourage more patients to register for the medical marijuana program in New York.

    Money in Marijuana Market
    Money in Marijuana Market

    How much money is there in the marijuana market

    Medical sales for 2016 amounted to $35,700,000 while estimated medical sales for 2021 were expected to reach $253,500,000. Since then, marijuana tax revenues have skyrocketed. The current estimates for 2023 are more than $56 million.

    Growing Operation Owner requirements

    Applying to have a grow operation in the state of New York is a tricky process indeed. Every aspect must be planned before the application could be accepted.

    In the past, New York’s medical marijuana laws (in terms of starting a business) were some of the strictest in the nation. Many people are eager to see if this changes.

    Currently, applicants must have a written acknowledgment from their landlord that states they officially know that medical marijuana is being harvested on their property.

    Businesses may not be within a thousand feet from any place associated with the gathering of children, such as a church, school, or daycare center.

    Marijuana License Requirements
    Marijuana License Requirements

    License and Financial requirements

    At the moment, application fees are high in New York. There is first a $10,000 fee to apply (non-refundable). Then a $200,000 fee must be paid that goes to the state.

    That fee, at least, is refunded if the application is unsuccessful. If successful and the business wants to continue operating the next year, another $200,000 must be paid each year for license renewal.

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    Even consulting services to help hopeful businesses navigate the opening process are more expensive in New York since they require more time and effort to find proper real estate and find their way through the various laws and requirements of a medical marijuana business owner.

    These high up-front costs are definitely worth taking into consideration when looking at the financial requirements of opening a medical marijuana grow operation in New York.

    This, combined with the costly real estate prices and other associated costs, could mean as much as $30 million would be required to get a large, successful company started off.

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      How much does a marijuana growing operation in New York make?

      Marijuana growing operations generally bring anywhere from $50,000 a year up to millions, or even tens of millions of dollars.


      marijuana business timeframe

      The time frame varies greatly on how long it takes to get a cannabis growing operation up and running, but it can often take one year or more to get finances in order, acquire necessary licenses, get suppliers and employees lined up, etc.

      Looking to start a marijuana grow operation in New York? The consulting companies listed below provide a wide range of services from helping with state licensing requirements and applications to running and stocking your business.

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        7 comments on “How to start a commercial grow operation in New York”

        1. NY wants this to include people of color but not a lot of people regardless of color have $200,000 laying around even if it is refundable. Nothing worse than people that don’t know anything about an industry making decisions for those that do. NY is a horrible state with a dictator/killer/alcoholic/abuser for a governor. They say kill a man and you are a murderer. Kill 1,000 and you are a King. How many women does it take to remove Cuomo? Its not 9.

        2. I love New York…but you unbelievable bastards! Let us grow!!!! Cuomo got Someone ready to line his pocket with corporate Green that’s why he wont turn it over to the people. at least small craft farmers that would like to operate in nY should have a right to!!! NY has some of the most draconian laws on medical marijuana…I guarantee nothing gets legalized without it being completely tipped to multi, multi million dollar corporations. People have a right to grow their own medicine!!! Fuck them…I do it anyway and I’m proud. Come get me assholes!! I sign my name proudly