The Conditional Adult Use-Retail Dispensary License (C.A.U.R.D): Are You Eligible?

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The C.A.U.R.D. acronym stands for Conditional Adult Use-Retail Dispensary License. A C.A.U.R.D. is a type of license that allows for the sale of cannabis products to New York adults aged 21 and older from a brick-and-mortar retail location.

The C.A.U.R.D. license is given to prospective dispensary operators who meet certain requirements and are able to meet some general public health and safety standards. If you are a New York resident and you are interested in applying for a C.A.U.R.D. license, keep reading to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply. 

Eligibility: Who Is Eligible for a C.A.U.R.D.?

New York’s Conditional Adult Use-Retail Dispensary License (C.A.U.R.D.) is available to entities majority-owned and controlled by justice-involved persons. Non-profit entities that serve communities disproportionately impacted by the cannabis prohibition and the war on drugs are eligible for a Conditional Adult Use-Retail Dispensary License (C.A.U.R.D.).

Who is a Justice-Involved Person?

“Justice-involved” is a term used to describe an individual who has been impacted by the criminal justice system. This term can refer to someone who has been arrested, convicted, or incarcerated, as well as to their families and communities.

In relation to the C.A.U.R.D. program, a justice-involved person is someone who:

  • Was convicted in New York of a marijuana-related offense before the 31st day of March, the year 2021
  • Has a parent, guardian, child, spouse or dependent convicted of a marijuana-related offense in New York to March 31st, 2021, or,
  • Is a relative of an individual who had been sentenced to prison for a marijuana-related crime in New York State prior to March 31, 2021
  • Provide evidence of the primary residence of the justice-involved individual at the time of such individual’s arrest or conviction
  • Provide evidence of primary residence of the justice-involved individual at the time of such individual’s arrests or conviction
  • A State or Federal Certificate of Disposition with a Court Seal is evidence of a prior conviction, violation and or Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) from the county of conviction
  • All applicants must be Fingerprinted

How are Non-Profit Entities Selected?

As we mentioned above, NYC non-profit entities would be selected for a C.A.U.R.D. license based on their service to communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition. These non-profit entities would thus be selected based on their past, present, and future focus or mission. At least some members of the non-profit board or officers should be “justice-involved” (Cannabis Control Board, Section 116.4(3)(v)). The goal is to license organizations that have had cannabis social justice and criminal justice reform as their goal in the past.

  • An individuals must have had at least at a 10% ownership stake for at least two years in a business that had a net profit for at least two years.
  • New York residents if applying as an individual or have a principal corporate location within New York or be organized under the las of New York if applying as an entity.
  • Non-profits that serve “justice-involved” individuals and communities that managed a social enterprise with at least two years of positive net assets.
  • A history of creating opportunities for “justice involved” individuals.
  • Must have “justice-involved” persons on its board or as officers.
  • Have at least 5 five full-time employees.

Just as with the “justice-involved persons” rule, this rule is in place to ensure that impacted communities that have been most harmed by the War on Drugs are able to participate in NYS marketplace economically, equally, and equitably.

The Renewal Process: How Often Does a C.A.U.R.D. Need to be Renewed?

A C.A.U.R.D. license is valid for two years from the date of issuance. A C.A.U.R.D licensee must renew its license before it expires in order to continue operating as a dispensary. The renewal process is essentially the same as the initial application process; the Department will review the licensee’s current company structure to ensure that it is still in compliance with the regulations.

Want to Stay Up-to-Date?

If you want to stay up to date and follow the community conversations about the licensing and regulatory processes of cannabis in New York, subscribe to This website will keep you informed about key dates and events and gives opportunities to provide input on the regulation of cannabis in our state.

Find out more from a New York State Cannabis Attorney

For more information, contact New York State Cannabis Attorney Michelle Fields. With more than 17 years of litigation experience and a focus on New York Cannabis Law, ours is a special commitment to an Inclusive and Equitable Cannabis Marketplace. You can read more about these issues here and contact me at 718-400-6143.

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