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Hochul announces approval of first adult-use cannabis conditional cultivation licenses to farms in New York


Thu, Apr 14th 2022 07:40 pm

52 licenses are the first granted for state’s adult-use cannabis program, licenses for already operating hemp farms across New York

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the Cannabis Control Board approved 52 adult-use cannabis conditional cultivator licenses across the state. These are the first adult-use cannabis licenses granted in New York, and they advance the Seeding Opportunity Initiative.

The approved licenses are from a pool of more than 150 that have been submitted to the Office of Cannabis Management following the March 15 opening of the online application portal. The OCM will continue to review applications on a rolling basis and will work to get them to the board for approval as quickly as possible. A list of the licenses approved is available here. In February, Hochul signed legislation creating the cannabis conditional cultivator licenses.

"New York's farms have been the backbone of our state's economy since before the American Revolution, and now, New York's farms will be at the center of the most equitable cannabis industry in the nation," Hochul said. "I'm proud to announce the first adult-use cannabis cultivation licenses in the state, and I'm proud of the work the Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board are doing to get adult-use cannabis sales up and running as fast as possible without compromising our mission to uplift communities and individuals most impacted by the past century of cannabis prohibition."

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "New York state continues to lead the nation in an equity-focused cannabis industry. The approval of the first 52 provisional cultivation licenses will help create a responsible start to the NYS cannabis industry by granting cultivators the ability to produce enough product and inventory for social equity retail dispensaries to meet the initial demand of the anticipated legal market. We are on our way towards realizing our goal of creating a viable and inclusive path for minorities and small farmers to have the opportunity to create generational wealth for their families and communities. I am proud of the work conducted thus far by the NYS Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board, and I look forward to our actions bearing fruit."

New York State Sen. Liz Krueger said, "The approval of these licenses will help ensure an adequate supply of cannabis when the first round of social and economic equity adult-use retail stores open later this year. It will also prioritize New York farmers and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. I am excited and gratified with the steps OCM is taking to fulfill the goals and the spirit of the legislation we passed last year as they roll out the adult-use cannabis program.”

Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said, "Today represents a huge step in our efforts to establish an adult-use cannabis industry in New York. We couldn't be more excited to approve 52 small farms across the state to start to cultivating cannabis for adult consumption. We've been working hard to establish this industry, and now, New York farmers will be able to plant seeds in our fertile ground, so dispensaries owned by justice-involved New Yorkers with business experience will be able to sell these products in stores by the end of the year. Growing season waits for no one, and we're moving as quickly as possible to help our local farmers take full advantage of it this spring.”

OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander said, "We are working hard to provide a legal framework for New Yorkers using medical cannabis to grow their own cannabis plants. We understand that patients are looking to this new option to access medication at a low cost, and we are doing everything possible to speed up this process while working within the rules of New York's regulatory system."

The Seeding Opportunity Initiative, announced by Hochul on March 10, positions equity-entrepreneurs to be the first to make adult-use cannabis sales in New York with products grown by New York farmers. Under the Initiative, these initial equity-entrepreneur, retail owners must meet two prongs of eligibility to qualify. First, they must have a cannabis-related conviction that occurred prior to the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA) on March 31, 2021, or had a parent, guardian, child, spouse or dependent with a pre-MRTA cannabis-related conviction in the state of New York. Second, they must also have experience owning and operating a successful business in the state of New York.

Medical Home Cultivation Regulations Approved for Second Round of Public Comment

At Thursday’s meeting, the Cannabis Control Board also directed the OCM to file updated regulations for medical home cultivation for a 45-day public comment period, which would start May 4, the first opportunity for it to appear in the state register. Only after final regulations are approved by the board will medical home cultivation of cannabis be allowed.

The public comment period for medical cannabis home cultivation regulations closed Jan. 18. The OCM received more than 160 comments from a wide range of stakeholders, including addiction prevention and awareness coalitions, small farmers, industry associations and clinical associations.

Revisions to the guidelines based on the past comment period include:

√ Updating definitions to provide clarity for terms like "on the grounds of" and "private residence";

√ Streamlining section 115.2 to clarify that the regulations pertain to certified patients and designated caregivers 21 years of age or older;

√ Amending some of the storage and security requirements to maintain protections while reducing costs;

√ Clarifying the plant limit for designated caregivers growing for multiple patients; and

√ Providing a framework for the sale of medical cannabis seeds or immature plants for home cultivation by entities licensed or registered with the office. These regulations include provisions for packaging, labeling, transporting, storing and selling of seeds and immature plants for the purposes of home cultivation of medical cannabis.

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