New York Marijuana Rules and What they Mean for Consumers, Growers, and Sellers Today
New York Marijuana updates as of last August, New York’s Governor, Kathy Hochul, vowed to bring legal cannabis to the state as quickly as possible. Soon after, Hochul appointed the Chair and the Executive Director of the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) to oversee the process. While the board moved slowly at first, the CCP recently created several new hemp, medical marijuana, and adult-use cannabis rules that promise to make a massive and immediate impact.
In partnership with the CCB and Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), Governor Hochul recently approved a cultivator and retailer licensing process, ensuring equity, inclusion, and sustainability. That means, in less than a year, New York’s adult-use market may be in full swing.
Here we review New York’s ever evolving hemp and cannabis regulations and what they mean for consumers, growers, and sellers–today and in the future.
What is New York’s Cannabis Control Board?
The Cannabis Control Board (CCB) is the governing body for cannabis in the State of New York, which also oversees the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). Tremaine Wright chairs the Board, and Chris Alexander serves as the Executive Director. Board members include Jessica Garcia, Adam Perry, Jen Metzger, and Reuben McDaniel III.
What does the Cannabis Control Board Do?
The CCB is responsible for creating the rules and regulations for the New York cannabis market. Its tasks include:
- Establishing a process for license applications
- Building regulations for license applications
- Approving or denying business licenses
- Overseeing the cultivation, production, distribution, sale, and taxation of cannabis and hemp
- Developing rules for adult-use home growing and medical cannabis home growing.
- Creating rules around labels and packaging requirements.
New York’s Cannabis Control Board Meetings - the takeaways
Since Hochul formed the CCB, the organization has met seven times. While not every meeting resulted in big change, the CCB has made considerable progress in shaping New York’s unique hemp and cannabis approach.
Let’s review the top highlights from the boards most impactful meetings.
FIRST MEETING: LOGISTICS
During its first meeting on October 5th, 2021, New York’s CCB worked hard to make up for lost time – and that’s excellent news. The first meeting focused on adding staff to the office, confirming board member appointments, and making immediate changes to the medical marijuana program.
SECOND & THIRD MEETINGS: HOME GROWTH
In its second meeting on October 21st, the board voted to award itself the power to create regulations for home cultivation of medical cannabis.
The CCB’s third meeting confirmed an 18-month timeline for issuing business licenses, which will occur in 2023. The Board also issued regulations around the home growing of up to six plants for medical marijuana patients and designated caregivers. Still, New Yorkers must wait until after the 60-day comment period ends in December and regulations are put into place. As of today, the legislation has not been written into law.
FOURTH MEETING: NEW HEMP CANNABINOID REGULATIONS
The CCB’s fourth meeting took place on December 16th. Its agenda focused on outstanding medical cannabis initiatives and brand-new cannabinoid hemp regulations related to business opportunities, THC rules, and permissible product types:
The CCP’s Proposed Cannabinoid Hemp Regulations will amend New York’s prior rules once published. One of the biggest changes was the addition of “Cannabinoid Hemp Farm Processors” to New York’s list of designated licensees. According to the regulations, Cannabinoid Hemp Farm Processors can produce up to 1,000 pounds of dried hemp annually and manufacture hemp flower products. However, they may not purchase or sell hemp outside of their operations.
The new rules also increased the allowable THC limit in extractions, opened the door for hemp-infused beverages, and officially banned Delta-8 and Delta-10 products. Check it out👇
- New York no longer requires that cannabinoid hemp products be shelf-stable. This opens up the doors for more innovations like hemp-infused foods and beverages.
- Regulators changed the per serving milligram cap for cannabinoid hemp dietary supplements, increasing the per serving dose from 75 mg to 100 mg.
- Synthetic cannabinoids and hemp-derived cannabinoid isomers like Delta-10 and Delta-8 THC are explicitly banned.
- Application fees ($100) and licensing fees ($300) have been added for cannabinoid hemp farm processors, ensuring equitable access.
- New York raised the acceptable THC concentration from 3% to 5% in hemp extracts.
- A new term, Craft, was added and defined to mean “hemp products created through hand trimming and hang drying.”
SIXTH MEETING: NEW MEDICAL CANNABIS RULES
On February 17, the New York State Cannabis Control Board (CCB) shifted focus back to medical cannabis regulations.. The board addressed staffing concerns, proposed new medical cannabis rules (Part 13 and Part 43), and offered more details concerning the proposed $200M social and economic equity fund.
Some of the changes included surveillance requirements at stores, marketing, and advertising rules, and favoring establishments with sustainable practices. The rules also amended guidelines for medical practitioners and qualifying patient conditions.
In New York, patients with the following conditions can receive a medical cannabis use certification.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord damage
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Debilitating pain
- Substance use disorder
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Muscular dystrophy
- Rheumatoid arthritis
But that’s not all. In addition–and this is BIG–practitioners can certify patients to receive medical cannabis for any other ailment they see fit. This opens up immense opportunities for people suffering from diverse conditions, including mental illness.
SEVENTH MEETING: ADULT USE LICENSING AND RETAIL DISPENSARIES
Adult-use cultivation licenses applications are open as of March 15!
On February 22, Governor Hochul signed a historical law to enact New York’s Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator license program. The law allows current New York hemp growers to be the first to apply for adult-use cultivator licenses. On March 10th, the board approved the application during the CCB’s eighth meeting. On March 15th, New York began accepting applications.
To be clear, only hemp growers authorized under the Department of Agriculture’s Hemp Research Pilot Program are allowed to submit an application. That gives small farm operators the chance to enter New York’s enormous market at the ground level without paying exorbitant fees or competing with massive corporations. The license fee is an approachable–albeit non-refundable–$2,000
In a press release, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said that she is “proud to sign this bill, which positions New York’s farmers to be the first to grow cannabis and jumpstart the safe, equitable, and inclusive new industry we are building. New York State will continue to lead the way in delivering on our commitment to bring economic opportunity and growth to every New Yorker in every corner of our great state."
As a result of this program, licensed New York hemp farmers will begin growing adult-use cannabis in Spring 2022!
The law also created a Conditional Adult-Use Processor license, allowing eligible applicants to process and manufacture high-THC marijuana. Applicants must have applied for a Cannabinoid Hemp Processor License before January 1, 2022, and hold a license issued by the Office of Cannabis Management. The OCM announced the application window is open from March 15 to June 30, 2022, however, it has not provided a portal to begin the process yet.
Just realized that New York also announced a processor license application process, so I added that the latest blog as well.
Moving ahead on adult-use retail dispensary regulations
At the CCB’s seventh meeting, the board also asked the Office of Cannabis Management to file proposed adult-use dispensary regulations. Regulations include guidance on:
- Applications for conditional adult-use retail dispensary licenses
- License eligibility
- Dispensary requirements and prohibitions
On the same day of the meeting, Governor Hochul issued a press release communicating just how groundbreaking the dispensary license process will be: Hochul explained that New York will be the only state granting people with prior cannabis convictions first dibs at retail licenses.
In what’s known as the Seeding Opportunity Initiative, New York will grant the first licenses to equity-focused entrepreneurs with prior offenses who also have a small business background. The state will require these stores to sell New York-grown cannabis in a true seed-to-sale fashion.
According to the press release, this initiative means New Yorkers may be able to buy legal weed before the end of 2022!