The New York State (“NYS”) Cannabis Control Board (the “Board”) held its second public meeting earlier today, just 16 days after its inaugural meeting on October 5th. The meeting was livestreamed to the general public with all Board Members (Tremaine Wright (Chair), Jessica Garcia, Jen Metzger, Rueben McDaniel and Adam Perry (attending virtually)), the Executive Director (Chris Alexander) and Chief Equity Officer (Jason Starr) in attendance.
Chairwoman Wright summarized the Board’s work since its last meeting including (1) its ongoing employment efforts (both new hires and the transition of existing NYS Department of Health staff), (2) the Board’s outreach to key NYS stakeholders (including visits to various cultivation and processing facilities), and (3) continued work on the creation of implementing regulations as required by the NYS Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (the “MRTA”).
Executive Director Alexander introduced the key features of newly proposed Medical Cannabis Home Cultivation Regulations. The Board approved the submission of these draft regulations to the Office of Cannabis Management (the “OCM”) for publication on the OCM website, upon which a four month public review and comment period will commence. In a nutshell, these new regulations will permit home cultivation (indoor or outdoor) of a limited number of cannabis plants (six in total, with some exceptions) by certified patients and their designated caregivers for personal medical use. These regulations are not intended to permit home cultivation for adult recreational use.
Executive Director Alexander also presented an update on the Expungement and Criminal Justice efforts undertaken by NYS in accordance with the requirements of the MRTA. Those efforts, to eradicate criminal records related to marijuana usage, are ongoing and must be completed by March 31, 2023.
Finally, the Executive Director summarized the Municipal Opt-Out Program under which municipalities may opt-out of (prohibit) adult-use dispensaries and/or on-site consumption licenses from operating within their jurisdiction (however, they cannot opt-out out of other license types or adult-use legalization itself). Local laws “opting-out” must be passed by December 31, 2021. Municipalities that opt-out may opt-back-in at any time. Municipalities that opt-out will not receive any revenue from the local excise tax on the sale of adult-use products.
The Board has not yet scheduled its next public meeting but the time and livestream link for that meeting will be posted on the OCM website in advance of the meeting. Chairwoman Wright suggested the public sign-up to receive updates from the OCM, which will include notices of all future Board meetings. The sign-up page for the OCM can be found here: https://cannabis.ny.gov/sign_up_for_updates_from_OCM
Summary drafted by Michael Schwamm, Jerome Levy, Michael Barz and Erensu Altan.