New York cannabis regulators approve retail rules

ALBANY, NY — State regulators on Thursday approved rules governing cannabis retail sales that will soon begin in New York City, ensuring the first batch of licenses will go to business owners who have already been convicted.

New York’s Cannabis Control Board has given the go-ahead to a proposed licensing program earlier this year that prioritizes “those involved in justice” as well as an online application portal that will likely go live. next month.

“It’s a huge step in the right direction,” said board chair Tremaine Wright. “We lead with fairness in this state.”

Under the new rules, applicants for the first round of Adult Conditional Dispensary, or CAURD, licenses must prove that they or a family member have been convicted of a marijuana-related crime before the pot legalization in New York in 2021 and have at least two years of experience in owning a profitable business.

The Office of Cannabis Management will publish the portal opening date on its website at least 14 days before the opening of the application period. The online application is meant to be user-friendly and “the average New Yorker can complete it independently,” Wright said.

While it’s unclear just how eligible any group of applicants will be under the rules, CMO executive director Chris Alexander said it was an example of fairness. which he hopes to see other states adopt as cannabis legalization continues in the United States.

“This is how we are building a model for establishing a truly fair and inclusive cannabis industry that other states can follow,” he said. before the end of the year.

More than 200 New York farms have been granted licenses to grow cannabis plants that will be used to supply adult-use dispensaries under the same New York-centric program meant to ensure major multi-state operators don’t flood not the market.

The board on Thursday also approved some changes to the state’s medical marijuana program, streamlining the patient registration process and revising regulations around packaging, labeling, marketing and advertising to align with proposed regulations for the retail sector.

In New York, adults 21 and older can possess and publicly consume pot even if sales have not yet begun. The law also allows the “gift” of marijuana as long as no money is exchanged.

Last week, the CMO released a trove of cease-and-desist letters sent to state companies that the agency says have circumvented the rules.

Dozens of legit-looking dispensaries have popped up around the city and elsewhere, offering marijuana as a free gift or as part of a subscription program.

Regulators say business owners who continue to flout the law could become ineligible for retail licenses once the program goes live.

Meanwhile, mixed messages about whether random drug tests would still be used to detect marijuana use have caused confusion among members of the New York Police Department.

Despite a leaked memo from the city’s legal department stating that marijuana testing of cops is no longer legal, police chiefs said Wednesday the department will maintain current policies prohibiting officers from lighting up. .

Labor sources told the New York Daily News that the FDNY is likely to follow the new guidelines, which means firefighters and paramedics will be allowed to smoke pot when off duty.

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