New York’s Cannabis Control Board: First Meeting News

Yesterday on October 5, 2021 at 1:30 pm, New York’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) held its inaugural meeting. The meeting was broadcast live, with the recording and transcript of the meeting available here.

So what is the news coming out of the meeting? The short answer is that the CCB and the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) are in the process of “staffing up” (some of which was formalized during the meeting) but are taking action to expand the medical cannabis program and cannabinoid hemp licensure immediately. Here are the highlights:

Expansion of the Medical Cannabis Program

Effective “immediately,” administration of New York’s medical cannabis program is being transitioned from the Department of Health (DOH) to the OCM. Practically, the OCM is taking the following actions (which go into effect immediately), which means that New York’s medical cannabis program is officially expanding:

  • Anyone who is legally allowed to prescribe a controlled substance can now prescribe cannabis under state law.
  • The maximum supply of cannabis for patients is expanded to a 60 day supply (from a 30 day supply).
  • Registered Organizations are allowed to sell whole flower to qualified patients.
  • $50 registration fee for patients and caregivers is waived moving forward.

(Here is our summary of the medical cannabis provisions in the MRTA as a refresher).

Rollout of the Cannabinoid Hemp Program

Also effectively immediately, New York’s cannabinoid hemp licensure process is being transferred from the DOH to the OCM. Chairwoman Tremaine Wright provided some statistics on the number of license applications already received (the significant majority of which were for retail licenses) and announced that the rules and regulations for cannabinoid hemp are a priority.

Appointment of Jason Starr as Chief Equity Officer of the OCM

During the meeting, Jason Starr was announced as the Chief Equity Officer of the OCM (his appointment was announced and voted on during the meeting). Mr. Starr will work closely with Executive Director Chris Alexander in creating and implementing New York’s social equity program.

No News on the Issuance of Adult-Use Rules and Regulations

Notably absent from the meeting were any statements on the anticipated timeline for the CCB and OCM issuing adult-use cannabis rules and regulations. While the CCB voted on and approved 22 new staff members (presumably tasked with actually drafting the rules and regulations), we continue to wait on a clear public statement as to when we can expect the rules to be released.

On the whole, the CCB’s meeting was a step in the right direction, albeit a little short on substance and the updates that all of New York’s cannabis industry have been waiting for. We don’t know when the next CCB meeting will be held, but it will be announced and publicly broadcast. For the time being, we will plan on providing a summary of every CCB meeting as we all wait for updates on the adult-use cannabis rules and regulations. Stay tuned.

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Licensing, New York, News