The State of Cannabis Legislation & Licensing: New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut [2023]

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States across the country continually update their cannabis legislation and cannabis business licensing. Let’s check in on the current state of cannabis business licensing in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut and the latest news from within their borders.

Cannabis Business Licensing in New York

At the end of August 2023, a New York Supreme Court judge reversed their decision to partly lift an injunction that would have allowed 30 cannabis businesses to move forward with their opening plans. This reversal enacted a continued hold on all New York cannabis business licensing and came after the court received an affidavit from the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), which noted that the 30 applicants had not completed all of the requirements to open shops and were not “ready to open.” In the ruling, Justice Kevin Bryant said the OCM “submitted a list which, by their own admission, includes licensees who are still finalizing construction and whose post-selection inspections have not been scheduled or completed.” A lawsuit has been filed by four service-disabled military veterans, which argues that the OCM created a licensing system in opposition to New York‘s adult-use law and improperly limits initial licenses.

Further, four cannabis companies have highlighted, via a letter to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, the mayhem of New York’s adult-use cannabis program rollout, specifically demanding efforts to issue retail licenses. The letter from Curaleaf Holdings, Green Thumb Industries, Acreage Acreage Holdings and PharmaCann indicates the OCM “abused its authority” and enabled a large number of illegal retail dispensaries to operate in the state, noting “The state’s ineptitude is endangering New Yorkers who wish to use cannabis safely and legally, while also hurting taxpayers.”

While typical licenses are not being accepted, the OCM is accepting applications for Cannabinoid Hemp Retail Licenses, Temporary Retail permits and Distributor permits. Fees for cannabis business licensing in New York include:

  • $300 licensing fee for each retail location selling cannabinoid hemp products
  • $25 per month (up to three months) for a Temporary Retailer permit
  • $300 Distributor permit fee

Cannabis Business Licensing in New Jersey

Cannabis business licensing in New Jersey has experienced more positive progress. In May 2023, the governor signed the state’s proposal to allow licensed cannabis companies to deduct standard, management-related business expenses from their state tax returns, including the opportunity to qualify for research and development deductions. In a statement posted on Twitter, the New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association said the new law allows state-approved cannabis businesses to “be treated like any other legal enterprise operating in New Jersey.” The law immediately took effect.

New Jersey Licensing Fees

New Jersey cannabis business licensing is open and follows the below fee schedule:

  • Standard Business: Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator:
    • Tier I: $5,000
    • Tier II: $10,000
    • Tier III: $20,000
    • Tier IV: $30,000
    • Tier V: $40,000
    • Tier VI: $50,000
    • Microbusiness: $1,000.
  • Class 2 Cannabis Manufacturer:
    • Up to 10,000 sq ft: $20,000
    • More than 10,000 sq ft: $30,000
    • Microbusiness $1,000
  • Class 3 Cannabis Wholesaler $10,000
    • Microbusiness $1,000
  • Class 4 Cannabis Distributor $3,000
    • Microbusiness $1,000
  • Class 5 Cannabis Retailer $10,000
    • Microbusiness $1,000
  • Class 6 Cannabis Delivery Services $3,000
    • Microbusiness $1,000

Cannabis Business Licensing in Rhode Island

On June 19, 2023, the Rhode Island governor approved a bill for reworking the state’s cannabis advertising laws. The bill allows state-licensed dispensaries to advertise via billboards. State Representative Scott A. Slater (D), who introduced the bill, said “Our dispensaries are facing a significant obstacle when competing with our neighbors in Massachusetts and Connecticut…This bill will correct this inequity while also supporting these new local businesses in Rhode Island by hopefully keeping Rhode Islanders from crossing the border to shop for their cannabis in neighboring states.”

New regulations for the Rhode Island cannabis industry, including new Rhode Island cannabis business licensing requirements, may be coming, as members of the Cannabis Advisory Board have been chosen. The board is tasked with working with the Cannabis Control Commission to advise and issue recommendations on the use, commerce, regulation and effects of adult-use and medical cannabis within the state. As it stands, Rhode Island cannabis business licensing fees include an application fee for an adult-use dispensary license of $10,000, with an additional $100,000 licensing fee upon approval. Annual renewal fees amount to $5,000.

Cannabis Business Licensing Connecticut

Adult-use sales in Connecticut reached $13 million in July 2023, however, not everyone in the state is thrilled. A lawsuit was recently filed in the Connecticut Superior Court that challenges the state’s legalization law and asks a judge to halt cannabis sales statewide due to the plant’s federal status. The lawsuit also claims the law’s social equity provisions violate an equal rights provision of the state constitution.

Meanwhile, Connecticut cannabis business licensing remains as below:

  • Dispensary License: $1,000 per year, initial application fee $1,000
  • Grower License: $75,000 per year, initial application fee $25,000
  • Processor License: $75,000 per year, initial application fee $75,000

CannaCon is the place to learn and interact with entrepreneurs from all corners of the cannabis industry! Grab your tickets to the October 6 and 7 event in Detroit. See you there!

CannaCon originally published this article June 28, 2019. It was updated Sept. 6, 2023.


  1. Roger on July 7, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Can’t help but notice that in your wording, Springfield is the West end of Massachusetts and New York is next door. There is a thriving marijuana industry for another 45 minutes worth of driving west on the turnpike, guess what, it’s still in Massachusetts. Sorry about the rant, I’m just one of many local residents who are not happy about the state not recognizing much west of Springfield which is technically central Massachusetts. I’m hoping to get there for the convention though.

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