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The state of New York has started accepting applications for medical marijuana licenses. Applications must be submitted no later than May 29 and must be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee of $10,000. The registration fee will then be $200,000; regardless of the number of applicants, just five will be approved. They will receive word of this in July.

Each of the five approved applicants will then have the ability to grow and distribute legal medical marijuana. The situation may become a little tricky for the licensees, since they are each limited to only four dispensaries. The locations at which they may open these dispensaries is even more technical, as the licensees will be given very specific instructions to follow. The sites must be approved by the Department of Health (DOH), and the facilities must be located in various counties throughout the state, as long as they are not neighboring or close together. In addition, the approved licensees will only be able to provide five brands of medical marijuana. The DOH will be in charge of determining the price, taking into consideration the costs involved in producing it.

Patients looking to receive medical marijuana and practitioners looking to give patients the certifications to receive it must also be registered by the DOH. Registration for patients and practitioners has not started yet.

This program will be put into effect Jan. 5, 2016, so once applicants receive approval, they should immediately get to work securing a site and obtaining local approval to start the building process in order to be ready to begin when the time comes. This deadline may prove difficult for seasonal medical marijuana businesses, if they are approved.

Current applicants are aware that they may not see any gains for at least two years. However, they do view New York as a valuable long-term investment. It is believed that with time, this program will grow and will eventually lead to marijuana becoming legalized and more commonplace throughout the Empire State.
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