The New York Cannabis Control Board (“CCB”) meeting on July 19, 2023 was marked by significant developments relating to the roll-out of the New York cannabis program. This alert provides five important updates arising from that meeting.
- Expansion of CAURD Licensees
The CCB approved an additional 212 applicants for the Cannabis Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (“CAURD”) licenses. This brings the total number of CAURD licensees to 463, almost doubling the growing New York program.
- Application Timeline for Unconditional Licenses
The CCB expects the timeline for accepting applications for unconditional licenses will open in late October. This application window presents a significant opportunity for aspiring cultivators, processors, distributors, microbusinesses, cooperatives, and most notably, retail dispensaries.
It is crucial for interested parties to start preparing for this application period now. Getting prepared well in advance of the window is especially important for those from outside the Empire State seeking to establish or expand their presence in the New York cannabis market.
To ensure a smooth application process, we recommend that you start organizing your business plans, assembling necessary documentation, and reviewing the specific requirements for each license category. Early preparation will best position you for success when the application portal opens in late October.
- Approval of Cannabis Growers Showcase (CGS)
The CCB has given its approval for the establishment of the “cannabis growers showcase” program (“CGS”) which will allow a form of pop-up retail sales outside of a brick-and-mortar establishment. Significant requirements for this program include:
- OCM (Office of Cannabis Management) has established that a CGS event must consist of the collaboration of three cultivators and one licensed CAURD retailer.
- Showcase events may only take place with the approval of municipalities that have opted in for retail cannabis sales.
- Only flower and flower products, such as pre-rolls, can be sold by growers at these showcases. If a conditional processor is involved in addition to the required presence of three cultivators, then non-flower products (e.g., vape cartridges, edibles, tinctures) can additionally be sold by the CAURD retailer on behalf of the processor participating in the showcase.
- OCM will issue CGS permits without any predetermined limit.
- Adjustments to the program are anticipated to provide further support for New York processors and farmers.
- OCM anticipates approving large showcase events provided the minimum requirements of three cultivators to one CAURD retailer are met in showcase space attending the event.
- Regulation on CBD: THC Ratio in Cannabinoid Hemp Products
An emergency regulation passed by the CCB mandates a minimum allowable CBD:THC ratio of 15:1 in cannabinoid hemp products. Additionally, the regulation restricts cannabinoid hemp retailers from selling products containing over 0.5 milligrams of total THC. This regulatory action effectively closes the hemp-derivative market in New York.
- Legal Action Against Unregulated Stores
The CCB will be initiating lawsuits against unlicensed stores that have been subject to raids. This enforcement program is aimed at ensuring compliance and maintaining a fair market for all participants. While the precise filing date of these lawsuits has yet to be confirmed, we expect them to commence within the next two weeks.
The CCB’s initiative seeks to promote a regulated and transparent cannabis industry in New York, protecting the interests of compliant licensed businesses and consumers alike. We encourage you to review your operations and ensure that you are fully compliant with all applicable regulations and licensing requirements, which carry fines of up to $20,000.00 per day for violations. By proactively addressing any compliance concerns, you can mitigate potential risks and demonstrate your commitment to operating within the legal framework.
Should you have any questions or require further assistance in navigating these updates, please do not hesitate to contact, David C. Holland, Andrew Schriever, James K. Landau, Doug Trokie, or any other member of the Prince Lobel Cannabis Team.
With thanks to Alexander Hymowitz for his work on this alert.