Cannabis Control Board Approves Regulation for Cultivation of Medical Cannabis & Adopts Cannabinoid Hemp Program

On October 21st, the newly formed Cannabis Control Board held its second meeting. During the meeting, the Board voted to file regulations with the Department of State allowing certified medical cannabis patients and designated caregivers on behalf of certified medical cannabis patients to grow cannabis at home. The regulations are in line with the requirements laid out in the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) signed into law earlier this year. The regulations for home cultivation of medical cannabis include:

  • Allowing up to three mature plants and three immature plants per person and a cap of six mature and six immature plants within or on the grounds of any private residence;
  • For designated caregivers who are 21 years old or older and who are caring for a patient under 21 or who is unable to cultivate on their own, the caregiver may grow up to six cannabis plants for one certified patient. However, no patient can have more than one caregiver growing on their behalf. If a caregiver has more than one medical patient, the caregiver may grow one plant for each patient they have above the first six;
  • Making clear neither cannabis seeds, immature and mature plants, nor flower can be sold or bartered to any other person except by a registered organization;
  • Requiring plants be kept in a secure location, using reasonable measures that neither the plants nor the products are readily accessible to anyone under the age of 21, by cultivating in an enclosed area not plainly visible from public view; taking reasonable steps to mitigate the odor; locking it up; and installing and maintaining security devices; and
  • Processing of cannabis at home with any liquid or gas, other than alcohol, that has a flashpoint below 100 degrees Fahrenheit is not allowed.

Now that the regulations have been filed with DOS, they are subject to a 60-day public comment period. After the public comment period, the board will then finalize the language of the regulations, and once approved, they will take effect.

The third meeting of the Cannabis Control Board was held on November 3rd, and the main topic of that meeting was the State’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program and its various regulations. During the meeting, the Board voted unanimously to adopt the program, which creates four types of Cannabinoid Hemp Licenses including:

  • Cannabinoid Hemp Processor (Extractor & Manufacturer) – Processor extracting cannabinoids from hemp biomass to create crude oil, distillate or isolate to be further refined or manufactured into cannabinoid hemp products. License also permits manufacturing of all final cannabinoid hemp products.
  • Cannabinoid Hemp Processor (Manufacturing only) – Processor who purchases intermediate crude oil, distillate or isolate to manufacture final cannabinoid hemp products.
  • Cannabinoid Hemp Distributor – Permit to distribute cannabinoid hemp products manufactured out-of-state, at wholesale to cannabinoid hemp retailers within NYS.
  • Cannabinoid Hemp Retailer – A business, including an internet retailer, that sells cannabinoid hemp products in their final form to consumers to be used for human consumption.

Along with the creation of four license types, the program also includes various manufacturing, laboratory, and packaging & labeling standards for cannabinoid hemp products. A detailed list of those regulations can be found here:

The Board also outlined various changes to the program which will happen in the future, which include:

  • Changing the per serving milligram (mg) cap for dietary supplement cannabinoid hemp products from 75 mg to 100 mg;
  • Removing the requirement that cannabinoid hemp products be shelf stable;
  • Increasing the acceptable THC concentration of intermediary hemp extract from 3% THC to 5% THC;
  • Allowing out-of-state manufacturers to omit the label warning that the product may cause a consumer to fail a drug test;
  • Establishing a process for small hemp farmers to affordably process and manufacture their own product;
  • Moving the cannabinoid hemp testing limits from regulations to a guidance document;
  • Modifying the requirement to list the milligrams (mg) of total THC per serving and per package on cannabinoid hemp product labeling;
  • Requiring cannabinoid hemp processors to include on the label the state(s) where the hemp used to manufacture the product was sourced from;
  • Defining “craft” cannabis to prohibit advertising and marketing from processors who did not meet the definition; and
  • Requiring that when someone is an out-of-state distributor, they must provide proof that they are complying with NYS standards.