New York cannabis regulators have finalized the rules for marijuana deliveries that could pave the way for the first legal sales before retailers have officially opened their doors.

The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) issued the marijuana delivery guidelines soon after approving the first successful recipients for adult-use retailer licenses, which suggests legal recreational sales are set to launch imminently.

The rules state that licensed marijuana retailers, known as Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licensees, are permitted to carry out cannabis deliveries out of warehouses even if their storefronts are not yet open for business. This will be allowed for up to one year while the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) finishes building dispensary storefronts.

“DASNY will continue the work of securing retail locations and locations will be matched with licensees as they become available,” OCM said in its press release.

“CAURD Licensees will be able to receive approval from the OCM to begin delivery to customers, jumpstarting sales of New York cannabis products with a model that will help them compete while providing options to licensee-entrepreneurs as they build new adult-use cannabis businesses,” the OCM statement continues.

More generally, adults 21 and older will be able to place orders online but are not permitted to make in-person purchases or pickups at warehouse locations. The number of delivery staff for a marijuana delivery service is capped at 25, and deliveries can be made with scooters, bikes, and motor vehicles.

So far, the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) has issued 36 adult-use retailer licenses following a one-month period for applications where 903 business proposals by social equity applicants were submitted.

A social equity application is defined as someone who has been convicted of a marijuana-related offense or is directly related to someone with such a conviction, and who has experience running a relevant business.

The majority of the 36 licensees were awarded to social equity applicants who have been disproportionately harmed by cannabis criminalization, but some of the licenses were issued to nonprofit community organizations that help formerly incarcerated individuals integrate back into society.

The CCB confirmed they will issue a total of 150 CAURD licenses to social equity applicants before opening up license applications to other non-marginalized individuals and groups. Of these, 25 are expected to go to nonprofits “with a history of serving justice-involved individuals and creating vocational opportunities for them.”

In August, CCB approved New York’s first round of adult-use marijuana processor and cultivator licenses. The following month, state regulators adopted new rules for home cultivation of cannabis for personal and medical use.

state marijuana laws