Retailers and distributors of cannabinoid hemp products must obtain a license or permit from the OCM to do business. CBD products are used to treat anxiety, stress, and pain. There is no doubt that you can make a great profit selling CBD products. But how do you get started?
Retailers & Distributors
As part of the Cannabinoid Hemp Program , businesses selling cannabinoid hemp products (both online and in person) are required to obtain a Cannabinoid Hemp Retail License from the Office.
Cannabinoid hemp products include many cannabidiol or “CBD” products available for purchase today, including tinctures, oils, topicals, pills, capsules and food or beverages that are intended for human consumption or application, for their cannabinoid content.
Distributors of cannabinoid hemp products must obtain a Cannabinoid Hemp Distributor Permit before selling or distributing cannabinoid hemp products manufactured outside of New York State to licensed Cannabinoid Hemp Retailers. This ensures that cannabinoid hemp products coming in from out-of-state meet all the requirements of the Cannabinoid Hemp Program.
The Office of Cannabis Management is now accepting applications for Cannabinoid Hemp Retail Licenses and Distributor Permits.
*Note this is not a license to sell marijuana. The Cannabinoid Hemp Program only regulates products derived from hemp. If you are interested in the future Adult-Use Cannabis Program, please visit the Adult-Use page here.
Cannabinoid Hemp Retail and Distributor Application Requirements
Before applying, please review the Cannabinoid Hemp Retail & Distributor application requirements below.
- A summary and description of the type of cannabinoid hemp product(s) you intend to sell (e.g. tincture, food, vape, topicals);
- Source(s) of the cannabinoid hemp products from whom you intend to purchase, which includes the name and contact information of any manufacturer or distributor.
- Proof from the Department of Taxation and Finance that you are registered to collect sales tax in New York State (applicants will upload a copy of their Certificate of Authority for each applicable retail location);
- An attestation that you will comply with the rules and regulations of the New York State Cannabinoid Hemp Program ;
- Submission of a $300 Cannabinoid Hemp Retail License fee for each retail location selling cannabinoid hemp products; or for a Distributor Permit, submission of a $300 Distributor Permit fee. Cannabinoid Hemp Retail licenses and Distributor Permits are valid for one year from the date of issuance.
How much does a Cannabinoid Hemp Retail License Cost?
The Cannabinoid Hemp Retail License costs $300 per retail location and is valid for a year from the date of issuance.
How much does a Cannabinoid Hemp Distributor Permit Cost?
The Cannabinoid Hemp Distributor Permit costs $300 per distributing location and is valid for a year from the date of issuance.
Do I need a license for each retail location?
Yes, each location offering cannabinoid hemp products for sale is required to obtain a license.
How long is the Cannabinoid Hemp Retail License valid for?
Cannabinoid Hemp Retail licenses are valid for one year from the date of issuance of the license.
How long is the Cannabinoid Hemp Distributor Permit valid for?
Cannabinoid Hemp Distributor Permits are valid for one year from the date of issuance of the license.
If I have a Cannabinoid Hemp Retail License, do I also need a Distributor Permit?
It depends. If you sell cannabinoid hemp products to consumers in New York State and sell cannabinoid hemp products manufactured out-of-state to cannabinoid hemp retailers in New York State, you will need both a Cannabinoid Hemp Retail License and Distributor Permit.
Trouble creating a New York Business Express (NYBE) Account?
Call the NYBE Contact Center at (518)-485-5000, Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm for assistance. When you call the help desk you will hear a list of options, you will want to “Press 4” for the Cannabinoid Hemp Program and then “Press 1” for assistance with NYBE profile login.
Cannabinoid hemp applications are available on the New York State Business Express (NYBE) website. Submitting an application through (NYBE) creates a profile for your business or organization. You will be able to reuse the information contained in your business profile to submit future applications when using NYBE . Once you have created a business profile for your business or organization, it will be associated to your NY.GOV login and only you will be able to submit applications for your business or organization. Others using NYBE who try to start an application with your business identifiers, such as the Legal Name or federal EIN , will be prevented from completing the application.
If you are trying to complete an application for your business or organization and are prevented from completing the application because a business profile already exists, consult with those within your business or organization to check if they have started a profile using NYBE . If you do not have access to the NY.GOV account with your business profile or do not know who within your organization created the business profile, you can request to have your business profile linked to a different NY.GOV account. The NYBE Contact Center at (518)-485-5000 can also assist with these login issues.
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Do You Have To Have A License To Sell CBD?
CBD products are used to treat anxiety, stress, and pain. There is no doubt that you can make a great profit selling CBD products. But how do you get started? Do you have to have a license to sell CBD?
You do not need a license to sell CBD products. However, you must form a business such as an LLC and acquire a resale license if you purchase CBD products from wholesalers. You can legally sell CBD if the oil is sourced from industrial hemp and the THC content of the product is below 0.3%.
Let’s explore the sale of CBD and the requirements to sell these products legally. Learn more about the top three states where the sale of CBD products is skyrocketing, and understand some key factors regarding starting a CBD business. There are important rules and regulations CBD sellers must abide by to run their business smoothly.
Table of Contents
Do You Have To Have a License To Sell CBD?
It is legal to sell CBD products without CBD-related licenses. However, businesses are still required to obtain a business license, and, if you plan to purchase CBD from wholesalers, you need a resale license. These two licenses are mandatory whether you have a walk-in or an online store.
Prospective CBD sellers must research the requirements of selling CBD products since the regulations can vary, depending on the state. However, the sale of CBD hemp products is legal if you comply with the rules and regulations as set out in the 2018 Farm Bill regulations.
Hemp-extract CBD products should contain no more than 0.3% THC. CBD products with more than 0.3% THC are considered to be marijuana and possession of them is a federal crime. 
States With the Most CBD Sales and How To Get the Licenses
It cannot be stressed enough that there is a big market for CBD, and businesses selling these products are growing and expanding daily to accommodate their customers. California, Florida, and New York are the states with the most cannabidiol sales in the US.  Here is how you can acquire a license to sell CBD in these three states:
How To Get a CBD License in California
It is mandatory in California to acquire a state license (which allows you to run a CBD establishment) before operating a CBD business. The state also requires approval from your local jurisdiction or proof that you received a Conditional Use Permit. 
If the local jurisdiction forbids trading cannabis, it will not provide the licenses. Knowing the state laws and regulations is necessary since they often change, so make sure you obtain the correct permits and licenses if you want to sell CBD in California.
After implementing the 2018 Farm Bill, California instituted the AB 228 Bill, which affirms the legal status of hemp-derived cannabis and CBD without limitation. Nevertheless, this bill prohibits the sale of unregulated CBD products that do not adhere to the FDA cannabis regulations.
How To Get a CBD License in Florida
Florida does not require a license to consume CBD hemp products, but licensing is necessary if sellers grow and sell CBD hemp products. If you plan to sell edible CBD products, you must obtain a food establishment permit. 
You may also be required to register for additional licenses if you sell frozen or dairy products. Cultivating hemp plants means you must be willing to provide your fingerprints, transportation plans, and environmental containment plans, and obey hemp cultivation site statutes.
How To Get a CBD License in New York
To sell CBD hemp goods in New York, you must apply for a Cannabidiol Hemp Retail License. You can easily apply for the license via the New York Business Express website. 
Distributors of CBD hemp products require a Cannabinoid Hemp Distributor Permit before selling and distributing CBD produced outside of New York to CBD hemp retailers. This requirement guarantees that all outside CBD products meet the requirements of the Cannabinoid Hemp Program. 
What About Delta 8
Delta 8 is made from CBD, so you may be wondering if your CBD license will work for delta 8. Many but not all states have similar licensing rules for delta 8 as CBD. Follow this link if you’re wondering, “do I need a license to sell delta 8?”
States That Prohibit Hemp- and Marijuana-Based CBD Products
Unfortunately, in nine US states, you are not allowed to start a CBD business. All states have their own Controlled Substance Act (CSA), but these nine states prohibit the sale of CBD products, making it illegal to consume or distribute CBD products in that state. These states are:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
You must have a valid reason to use cannabis products, including CBD, which means you can only use them for medical purposes in these states. Doctors who approve the use of cannabis and CBD will provide you with a licensed medical card for purchases. In these nine states, you cannot obtain licenses to sell CBD online or in-store. 
The remaining states have legalized the sale and purchase of CBD products, allowing businesses to open CBD stores and pharmacies to sell CBD. In these states, you can possess, buy, and use hemp-based products without restrictions. Products that can be legally sold in these states include hemp capsules and CBD oils.
However, states such as Nebraska and Michigan are in the process of making regulatory decisions and evaluating the 2018 Farm Bill changes. Therefore, sellers and consumers in these states cannot open or purchase CBD products from stores, but luckily consumers can legally buy CBD from online retailers.
Essential Licenses That May Be Required To Sell CBD
It is mandatory to obtain a license to sell CBD hemp products in some states. If you have a CBD store in one of these states, it is important to familiarize yourself with what you need to acquire when establishing a business: 
- Tax ID Number – An Employer Identification Number is a tax ID number that assists the IRS in recognizing your business for tax-related matters.
- Business License – We have already established that a business license is required to operate your CBD business. The license is renewed annually and is proof that your business is legally allowed to operate in the country. Though this license has nothing to do with selling CBD, it is required for all businesses.
- Business Formation – A business formation with the state aids in protecting potential liabilities and debts that may occur. It also protects your personal assets.
- Sales Tax Permit – When collecting local sales and state taxes, you must have a permit.
- Permits – Businesses need different permits depending on the products and services they offer. For example, a CBD business might need a permit from the health department if they sell food or treats.
How To Obtain a CBD Certification
A CBD certification signifies that the CBD products you sell to your customers have been third-party tested, are safe to consume and use, comply with FDA regulations, and adhere to the legal level of THC (0.3%). This certification assures buyers that the CBD is of a high standard.
If your business complies with the certification requirements, you will get a stamp of approval featured on all your CBD-infused goods and/or your CBD website. Many organizations, such as NSF, US Hemp Authority, and BSCG, provide sellers with CBD certifications. Let’s look at one top-rated organization that can thoroughly assist you:
LegalScript for CBD Certification
LegalScript is meticulous when it comes to product credibility. The organization evaluates and ensures that you have the necessary documentation to start the application process for running a CBD business. 
Sellers must prove that their CBD products meet the federal and state regulations to be certified, and product labeling should accurately state that the goods contain CBD. To meet the standards of LegalScript’s certification process, you must always be transparent with customers and regulators.
The content of the products must not consist of ingredients that LegalScript has prohibited. To have the LegalScript stamp on your CBD website, your domain name must be clear and accurate and not be privacy-protected. Your website must be simple and easy to navigate so that customers can easily find your contact information and location of your CBD store (if applicable).
LegalScript only allows applicants to market LegalScript-certified CBD goods. There are numerous standards CBD sellers must be willing to meet, including agreeing to on-site inspections by LegalScript, supplying unexpired and usable samples for testing, and consenting to background and history checks for criminal offenses or civil violations.
You can simply apply on the LegalScript website to create an account and pay the once-off application fee (the annual subscription fee is only payable after sellers have been successfully certified).  Applicants must complete a questionnaire (you can return to the questionnaire anytime you want), and the LegalScript team will review it.
LegalScript may ask for additional information, underline flaws in the application, and have CBD sample products at their disposal for testing. Once the grueling process ends, you pay the subscription fee and become certified.
It is important to have all the required documents ready before starting the application process, be completely clear and truthful in the questionnaire, quickly respond to the company’s requests, and instantly pay the subscription fee.
Investing in CBD certification is costly. Be prepared to pay a substantial fee for LegalScript’s services.
|Total of CBD Products||Application Cost Per Product||Annual Monitoring Cost Per Product|
|CBD Website||Once-Off Application Fee Per Website||Annual Fee Per Website|
Disadvantages That CBD Businesses Face
CBD businesses must deal with a few hurdles that other companies typically do not face. So, consider these challenges before you make your final decision to sell CBD products: 
- Insurance – CBD businesses have difficulty finding affordable and quality insurance. Even though it’s legal to sell CBD and hemp products, insurance for such a business is expensive. Many people are not adequately educated about CBD and hemp products, making certain aspects of running the business challenging.
- Banking – Another challenge for CBD sellers is access to reliable banking services. Banks are hesitant to provide services and capital to CBD businesses due to the probability of facing issues and risks associated with CBD sales. Owners of CBD companies face unexpected hurdles because they may have to switch to another bank or deal with the sudden closure of merchant accounts. These problems can be time-consuming and interfere with day-to-day work tasks.
- Payment Processing – Recently, Visa announced that it would not do business with CBD companies and sellers. Payment processors ask for hefty fees. A few of the best payment processors include Mastercard, Discover, SMB Global, PayWize, and USAePay.
- Funding and Resources – Funding and resources are difficult to acquire from banks, mainly because banks believe the CBD business is too perilous and there are no apparent regulatory requirements. Sellers have turned to outside investors or willing lenders to obtain the desperately needed growth capital.
The CBD industry is booming. You can make a large profit from selling these products. California, Florida, and New York are the states that have the most CBD sales. If you are opening your own CBD business, research the requirements of the state where you plan to sell the products. Not all states have favorable laws regarding the sale of CBD.
There is no specific license required to sell CBD products; however, a business license, sales tax permit, business formation, other permits, and a tax ID number may be necessary to obtain. A resale license is required if you’re planning to resell CBD products from wholesalers. There are no definite costs for the permits, licenses, or additional paperwork necessary for CBD sales.