New York’s CCB Releases Proposed Cannabis Regulations

New York’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) held a meeting on June 1, 2022 in which the road towards New York’s adult-use cannabis market became clearer. The CCB released three sets of proposed cannabis regulations in the lead up to this most recent meeting: packaging and labeling regulations, marketing and advertising regulations, and laboratory testing regulations. The proposed regulations are the latest indication that the CCB is pushing for adult-use sales by the end of the year (which we still think is unlikely), given that each set of proposed cannabis regulations is focused on consumer safety.

Less advertised but equally (if not more so) important for prospective retail dispensary applicants was DASNY’s surreptitious issuance of a request for proposal for design-build services for conditional retail dispensaries. In short, DASNY is in the process of soliciting bids from design-build firms (i.e. design and construction firms) for the construction of conditional retail dispensary locations.

Included as part of the design-build RFP is an attachment that lists all of the design and construction requirements for conditional retail dispensaries, including requirements customer services areas, security, and point of sale software. We think it’s a pretty safe bet that the requirements for the design of the conditional retail dispensaries foreshadow the forthcoming requirements for the full retail dispensary build-out requirements.

In the next few weeks, we will provide a detailed explanation of the design-build RFP and each of the proposed regulations released by the CCB during the most recent meeting. Below is a quick summary of each set of regulations.

Packaging and labeling proposed regulations

The implementation of packaging and labeling was contemplated by the MRTA. In short, these regulations focus on 2 things: (1) consumer safety; and (2) not targeting youths ore promoting overconsumption. The CCB’s highlights:

  • Minimum standard:
    • requirements for child-resistant, tamper-evident and non-toxic packaging
    • label components such as warnings, serving size, potency, ingredients and usage and storage instructions
  • Prohibitions:
    • cannot be attractive to individuals under age 21 (e.g., cartoons, characters, celebrities, toys)
    • cannot include false or misleading statements
  • A packaging environmental sustainability program which all licensees are required to implement, with an annual reporting requirement

Marketing and advertising proposed regulations

Like the packaging and labeling regulations, the marketing and advertising regulations focus on preventing advertising to youths and encouraging overconsumption. The prohibitions and restrictions are also similar. A noteworthy variation: billboards and advertising within or visible at 500 feet of schools, recreation centers, childcare centers, playgrounds, public parks or libraries is prohibited.

Laboratory testing proposed regulations

This is a separate license type that we have been fielding lots of inquiries about since the MRTA was passed. The laboratory testing regulations establish an application process to permit independent cannabis testing laboratories and approval of laboratory sampling firms. The highlights:

  • existing independent laboratories already certified to test medical cannabis under the Department of Health will be authorized to test medical and adult-use cannabis under the OCM
  • labs must be ISO 17025 accredited and meet other quality assurance and staffing requirements
  • lab ownership is prohibited from having a direct or indirect interest in any other registration or license type under the MRTA
  • Laboratory sampling firms, independent of registered organization and licensees, will be collecting samples from registered organization and licensees for lab testing

From a big picture, the release of these proposed cannabis regulations is a big deal, if only because it signals the impending release of regulations for each of the adult-use license types. Stay tuned for our posts diving into DASNY’s design-build RFP and the recently released regulations.