New York Cannabis Update

Governor Hochul Signs Cannabis Cultivation Bill

On February 22nd, Governor Hochul signed S.8084A/A.9283, which will establish temporary conditional adult-use cultivator and processor licenses. This bill would allow licensed cannabis manufacturers to begin growing cannabis for recreational-use now so that there are products available to sell when the recreational adult-use program begins. Also, under the bill, licensed cannabis manufacturers will be required to meet requirements for safe, sustainable, and environmentally friendly cultivation practices, participate in the social equity mentorship program, and engage in a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization.

“I am 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,” the Governor said. “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.”

In response to the bill’s signing, Assembly Majority Leader and the bill’s sponsor, Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “Last year, after many years of fighting we finally enacted the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, and are beginning to undo the devastating impacts over ninety years of unequal enforcement of marijuana prohibition had on too many lives and communities. MRTA ensures that the legal adult-use market will be centered on equity and economic justice for communities of color and individuals that have been harmed most by the War on Drugs in the State of New York. With the passage of this bill, we have the opportunity to create a responsible start to the adult-use cannabis industry by authorizing temporary conditional cultivator and processor licenses to current New York hemp farmers. This authority will help secure enough safe, regulated, and environmentally conscious cannabis products to meet the demand of the adult-use cannabis market when retail dispensaries open. Importantly, this legislation calls for a Social Equity Mentorship Program, which will create a viable and inclusive path for social and economic equity partners interested in cannabis cultivation and processing to gain invaluable knowledge and experience in this emerging industry.”

Proposed Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensary Licensing Regulations Released & Advanced and New Conditional Cultivator License Application Approved

On March 9th, the State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) released the proposed regulations for licensing the first adult-use cannabis dispensaries, which provide details about how the State plans to launch its new retail cannabis market. Under the proposed regulations for conditional adult-use dispensary licenses, the first licenses will be reserved exclusively for individuals who have marijuana convictions or individuals who have family members with marijuana convictions from before the legalization of cannabis.  

Also, under the proposed regulations, there are certain rules that applicants will need to agree to, including:

  • Not selling cannabis to anyone under the age of 21;
  • Not selling any cannabis product in any disallowed form;
  • Providing the OCM a complete disclosure that includes a statement identifying all true parties of interest and that each individual who is a true party of interest is at least 21-years old;
  • Not attempting to conceal or disguise ownership or other control over its operations in its submissions;
  • Registering with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for a certificate of adult-use cannabis registration and, if applicable, a certificate of authority should the applicant be granted a license; and
  • Entering into a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization actively engaged in representing employees in the cannabis industry.

On March 12th, the Cannabis Control Board unanimously approved a resolution directing the OCM to file the proposed regulations. Now the proposed regulations will be subject to a 60-day public comment period, after which they will return to the board for any changes before a final vote approving the regulations, which is expected to happen in the spring. The full set of proposed regulations can be found here:

In addition, the Board approved a new application form for conditional adult-use cultivator licenses, and set March 15th through June 30th as the new period in which individuals can apply for adult-use cultivator licenses. 

With all of these things in motion, it is believed by some that the State’s first adult-use cannabis dispensaries could open by the end of the year.