New York Issues 212 New Cannabis Retail Licenses

New York State’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) and the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) today announced bold actions to swiftly grow the state’s legal cannabis market, according to a press release

In addition to a significant expansion of the number of Conditional Adult Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses to increase the rate at which retail locations will open across the state, the launch of the “Cannabis Growers’ Showcase” (CGS) was outlined. This initiative is a partnership that will enable cannabis growers and existing, licensed retailers to sell cannabis to consumers. New York State is the first in the nation to allow the sale of cannabis at state and locally-sanctioned locations. 

“The provisional approval of today’s 212 CAURD licenses by the Cannabis Control Board marks a momentous leap forward in our pursuit of an inclusive and fair cannabis industry. These licensees are demonstrative of the innovation and diversity of New York State,” Tremaine Wright, Chair of the Cannabis Control Board, said in the release. “We want to thank Governor Hochul for her steadfast support as New York forges ahead in expanding its cannabis market and fulfilling our social equity objectives.”

CCB Approves Cannabis Grower’s Showcase to Allow Licensed Sales Outside of Dispensaries

The Cannabis Growers’ Showcase (CGS) initiative will allow for the first legal in-person sales of cannabis in New York beyond the walls of a licensed dispensary. This initiative allows growers to partner with conditional adult-use retailers and processors across New York to organize events for showcasing New York brands and selling adult-use cannabis products to consumers.

The implementation of the CGS is a crucial next step in expanding the State’s cannabis market, and will accrue important benefits to growers, retailers, and consumers, including:

  • Allowing farmers to process and sell crops faster
  • Enabling consumers to have legal access to cannabis in parts of the state that currently do not have dispensaries
  • The markup a retailer may charge will be capped, thus ensuring prices remain competitive for consumers

Each CGS event will feature a minimum of three Adult-Use Conditional Cultivators, partnering with a licensed adult-use dispensary to sell licensed and tested cannabis products to customers. These events are only allowed in municipalities that allow for retail cannabis sales, and must have a predominantly adult population. Only New Yorkers age 21 and over may purchase cannabis and cannabis products.

The CGS initiative marks an important milestone in New York’s cannabis industry, fostering collaboration and allowing licensed cultivators to engage directly with consumers.

CCB Approves Vital Emergency Regulations to Safeguard Cannabinoid Hemp Products and Public Safety

The CCB approved proposed emergency regulations that ensure the safety and quality of cannabinoid hemp products offered for sale in New York. These regulations introduce significant changes, including:

  • Instituting a minimum ratio of CBD to THC that all cannabinoid hemp products must meet
  • Placing limits on the total THC in milligrams allowed for certain types of cannabinoid hemp products
  • Prohibiting the sale of cannabinoid hemp products with over 0.5 mg of total THC per serving to individuals under 21
  • Updating laboratory testing requirements to align with testing limits in adult-use and medical cannabis programs
  • Revising packaging, labeling, marketing, and advertising rules to discourage the attractiveness of cannabinoid hemp products to individuals under the age of 21, prevent false statements or health claims, and align with certain provisions in the adult-use and medical cannabis programs

These changes will help ensure that intoxicating cannabinoid hemp products are not sold in the cannabinoid hemp program where the regulations differ in the provisions and safeguards that exist in the adult-use program.

CCB Approves Medical Cannabis Regulation Amendments

The CCB also voted to approve proposed regulations to improve patient access and care within New York’s medical cannabis market. With the CCB’s vote, these regulations will now enter a 60- day public comment period. The primary changes to the medical program regulations include:

  • Updates to lab testing requirements, including a requirement to report terpene content
  • Language to allow for bulk dispensing of medical cannabis products by dispensary pharmacists
  • Technical fixes and updates to conform with the adult-use industry when it comes to worker health and safety standards, disclosure requirements, and packaging and labeling regulations

CCB Approves and Finalizes Cannabis Research Regulations

The CCB voted to adopt the finalized regulations governing licenses for researchers to produce, process, purchase and/or possess cannabis for limited research purposes. The draft regulations were introduced at the March 2, 2023 CCB meeting and went out for a 60-day public comment period that concluded on June 5. OCM received 22 public comments, overwhelmingly in support of the regulations and New York’s efforts to stimulate cannabis research. 

Because no substantive changes were made as a result of the public comment, they will be made effective following their adoption in the state register. These licenses will help further research into cannabis, a space of research that has been severely limited by a century of cannabis prohibition in the United States.

Cannabis Control Board Approves Additional Laboratory Testing Permit

The Cannabis Control Board approved one additional laboratory permit for Coral Reef Labs in Johnson City, New York, bringing the total number of laboratories permitted to conduct adult-use and medical cannabis testing in New York State to 15. 

The approval of this permit serves as a critical part of New York’s equity-first supply chain, helping to bring safer cannabis products onto the shelves of New York’s first adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries.