Report of New York State’s Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”) Board Meeting, June 23, 2022

By Jordan Nittinger

New York State’s Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”) held a board meeting on June 23, 2022, with nearly 600 attendees in virtual attendance through online streaming.

The Cannabis Control Board (the “Board”) largely discussed the Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License, which will authorize eligible hemp growers to grow cannabis that contains over .03% THC. The Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator License application window opened on March 3, 2022 in anticipation of the New York adult-use market. 162 applications have been approved since the application window opened. During the meeting, the Board also approved 41 additional licenses, most of which are small-scale farmers in the state of New York. So far, 250 applications have been received, while the Board anticipates one more round of license approvals before the application window closes on June 30, 2022.

The Board also approved an application form for Adult-Use Conditional Processor Licenses. The application period will run from June 28 through Aug. 31. The Conditional Processor License will allow licensed processors to take the New York adult-use cannabis plant material and manufacture it into consumer products that will be sold at dispensaries. To be eligible, applicants must hold a Cannabinoid Hemp Processor license issued by the Office of Cannabis Management and have applied for the license prior to Jan. 1. They must also take part in a mentorship program that seeks to provide pathways to industry and entrepreneurship opportunities for social equity applicants, as well as participate in an environmental sustainability program.

The Board was excited to approve Damian Fagon as the Cannabis Control Board’s Chief Equity Officer. Fagon brings a wealth of experience to the Cannabis Control Board. Not only does Fagon have vast experience in hemp, cannabis, economic development and agriculture, but he is also a third-generation farmer himself. Fagon has managed farmers in Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Guatemala and South Carolina.

The Board also discussed a new initiative led by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY). On June 22, DASNY announced a black-led management team including Chris Webber, five-time NBA All-Star, and the Bill Thompson, the 42nd Comptroller of New York City. Webber and Thompson will be managing the Social Equity Cannabis Investment Program to support the first retail dispensaries in New York. The retail dispensary locations are aiming to open in the fall or winter of 2022. Fundraising for the program is occurring over the next sixty to ninety days, and locations for the storefronts are being scouted currently.

Further, in an effort to get involved in smaller New York communities, OCM is continuing to hold “Get Ready, Get Set” workshops. These workshops are being held all over the State of New York, with the purpose of preparing eligible New Yorkers for Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary licenses. OCM is hoping to connect, educate and provide support to New York communities that are impacted by over policing and engage with individuals with cannabis convictions, as well as community-based organizations.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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