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December 17, 2021

The Fourth New York State Cannabis Control Board Meeting

On Thursday, December 16, 2021, the New York State Cannabis Control Board (CCB) of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) held its fourth public meeting. The CCB addressed a medical cannabis registered organization change of ownership, new cannabinoid hemp regulations, OCM staffing and locations, and the executive director’s report.

If anyone was hoping for an update on adult-use marijuana regulations, applications, and licensing, unfortunately, the wait continues, as the CCB did not address adult-use marijuana at all.

CCB Chair Tremaine Wright stated that the OCM has continued to recruit, interview, hire, and train staff. Additionally, Wright noted that the OCM is now processing cannabinoid hemp licenses and that all manufactures and retailers of cannabinoid hemp products must obtain the appropriate license before manufacturing cannabinoid hemp products or selling cannabinoid hemp products to consumers. Businesses that have not applied for the appropriate cannabinoid hemp license must do so immediately.

The next item discussed was the change of license holder for one of New York State’s 10 medical marijuana registered organizations, MedMen, Inc. The board conditionally approved the change in ownership contingent on the company continuing current operations to maintain patient access and supply.

The biggest news out of the CCB meeting was the proposal of amendments and additions to the cannabinoid hemp regulations. These new changes include:

  • Changing the per serving milligram cap for dietary supplement from 75 mg to 100 mg
  • Increasing the acceptable THC concentration of intermediary hemp extract from 3 percent to 5 percent
  • Allowing out-of-state manufacturers to omit the label warning that the products may cause a consumer to fail a drug test if the product is manufactured using isolate or broad-spectrum hemp extract
  • Removing the requirement that cannabinoid hemp products be shelf stable
  • Adding a definition of “craft” cannabinoid products
  • Establishing a new license type for “Cannabinoid Hemp-Farm Processors” that will allow manufacturing of flower products for hemp grown by the licensee

Several of these changes allow New York State to come into harmony with other states’ requirements for cannabinoid hemp products and lighten some regulatory burden on cannabinoid hemp manufacturers. However, some of the proposed regulations may be harmful to consumers, such as not requiring a warning of the possibility of failing a drug test and the removal of the requirement that products be shelf stable. There will be a public comment period on these proposed regulations.

The CCB stated that it is expanding its offices to include an office in New York City as well as Buffalo. The OCM expects that there will be approximately 70 employees in New York City and 40 employees in Buffalo. 

Related to the addition of new offices, Chair Wright noted that the OCM has posted career opportunities on its website. Wright discussed the continuation of the OCM’s hiring efforts, and the CCB accepted the recommendations of another slate of OCM hires. 

OCM Executive Director Alexander gave a report to the CCB summarizing events since the previous CCB meeting. Alexander first focused on the municipal opt out under New York State’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. Cities, towns, and villages are required to opt out by December 31, 2021, or they will remain opted in for adult-use dispensaries and on-site consumption lounges. As of the meeting, Alexander reported that the OCM has received 365 municipal opt outs, comprising approximately 24 percent of all New York State municipalities. Specifically, 10 percent of cities, 28 percent of towns, and 19 percent of villages have opted out so far. Alexander noted that as the opt out deadline approaches, he expects to see more opt outs.

Lastly, Alexander noted that the OCM has sent out a request for proposal for a new seed-to-sale tracking system. The system assists the government in tracking cannabis through the supply chain to prevent inversion and diversion of cannabis.

Barclay Damon’s Cannabis Team will continue to closely monitor developments pertaining to the MRTA’s rules and regulations. If you have questions about the MRTA, please contact one of Barclay Damon’s cannabis attorneys. 

If you have questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Jason Klimek, Cannabis Team co-leader, at jklimek@barclaydamon.com, or another member of the firm’s Cannabis Team.

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