New York Cannabis Industry Expert Advice On Starting Your Legal Cannabis Business

As New York’s Office of Cannabis Management sets regulations for the state’s weed industry, regional marijuana trade groups are advising would-be legal operators on what they can do now to prepare their requests.

The New York City and Hudson Valley Cannabis Industry Associations held a 90-minute online event on Tuesday to outline the important steps business owners must take to apply for a license and running a business in a tightly regulated environment.

“There are resources out there, but it’s about navigating and finding your way to them, and understanding them,” said David Holland, NYCCIA chairman and partner at law firm Prince Lobel & Tye, based in Massachusetts and New York. “But at the end of the day, it’s hard work.”

The “Canna-Basics 101” conference was for everyone, from those considering entering the legal weed industry to people who are actively planning and fundraising for a business. Tuesday night’s forum panelists outlined best practices in areas including marketing, business planning and brands.

Here are some key points from the discussion:

Michael McGuire: Lawyer and co-founder of a home cultivation company The stable garden

The first thing anyone applying for a cannabis business license in New York should do is visit the CMO’s website and read all the regulations for the license they are applying for, said Michael McGuire, attorney and co -founder of the home cultivation company. The stable garden. OCM has recently put together a comprehensive page on the Adult Conditional Use Recreational Dispensary (CAURD) program rules.

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In addition to learning the specifics of New York City’s weed rules and legal requirements, McGuire said, entrepreneurs need to do a fair amount of business planning, which includes developing a business plan. business (there are templates available from the US Small Business Administration) and determine whether they should set up their business as a corporation, limited liability company, or something else.

“It’s not really a requirement of the app, but nonetheless, it’s a really important thing to have in place,” McGuire said.

Additionally, McGuire recommended:

  • Creating your New York “ID” via
  • Contact a union to enact a labor peace agreement
  • Create a business entity, such as an LLC, partnership, or corporation, and open a bank account
  • Create all of your social media accounts, with a focus on LinkedIn for networking
  • Obtain your Employer Identification Number through
  • Creation of your statutes. Templates are available at
  • Create an operations and employee manual, which may require bringing in outside help
  • Securing a website, a dedicated email address and a Google Workspaces account.

Penelope Hamilton: Director of Community Engagement at

During a segment focused on promoting a business, Penelope Hamilton – who serves as director of community engagement at – said entrepreneurs should put branding and marketing at forefront of their strategy and start as soon as possible.

“Try not to let marketing be your afterthought, or the last thing,” Hamilton said. “The first thing you can do is start building your brand – even if you don’t have a product yet, you can still grow it.”

Additionally, Hamilton recommended:

  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile
  • Read the MRTA: Learn about the different types of license and decide where you want to go, she said
  • Don’t go it alone: ​​pool resources, identify distinct strengths and work together.

Andrew Schriever: Partner at Cuddy & Feder LLP and President of the Hudson Valley CIA

Hudson Valley CIA President Andrew Schriever told the online audience that they should also think about how they will deposit their company’s intellectual property early in the development of their business. That can be difficult because federal trademark laws don’t cover companies that sell marijuana due to the fact that it’s still federally illegal, Schriever said.

But even without federal trademarks, cannabis companies can protect intellectual property like the names of original marijuana strains a company may grow, he said. This is because the “common law mark” establishes certain protections.

“If today I started using a trademark and that trademark is unique, then the area in which I use that trademark, I have already established a trademark right,” Schriever said. “This means that if someone else comes into my geographic area and tries to use this mark – whether or not I have trademark office protection – I have what is called a ‘right of right’. common to defend “my right to use the trademark of the brand.”

Allison Kirchhofer: Co-founder of the New York Consortium of Cannabis Accountants

Budgets and projections are essential in any business plan, said Allison Kirchhofer, who recently co-founded the nonprofit New York Consortium of Cannabis Accountants.

“The first thing a business plan should do is talk about how you’re going to make money,” Kirchhofer said. “I’ve done a lot of business planning consulting and quite often there are a lot of great ideas – which is great – but that’s just the start. You have to look at the economics of the unit and how you are going to make money.

Additionally, Kirchhofer broke down the five key costs of a capital budget: real estate and construction, starting inventory, application fees and professional services, infrastructure (security requirements, equipment, etc.), and software.

“Do a lot of research, talk to suppliers — that’s where the hard work is, do all the legwork and figure out how much it’s going to cost you,” she said.

Additionally, Kirchhofer recommended:

  • Quickly find a lawyer and a real estate agent
  • Get involved in the community where you’re going to start a business: go to board meetings, educate community members, get membership, she said.
  • Learn about taxes, especially how 280E will affect your bottom line.

Other panelists touched on issues such as labor relations, navigating municipal government restrictions and the importance of being active on social media – but not just on one account as some businesses close. regular accounts associated with weed businesses.

Learn more about the NYC and Hudson Valley Associations here.


New York Cannabis Insider Conferences: 2022

The NY Cannabis Insider conference schedule for the rest of 2022 is now available! Get tickets to our meeting in New York on August 23, our half-day conference in Syracuse on September 23, and our full-day conference in Tarrytown on November 4.

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