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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

New York Senate approves marijuana rights and licensing bill, as assembly vote approaches

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The New York Senate on Tuesday approved a bill to provide temporary licenses to grow and process marijuana to existing cannabis companies that are taking certain steps to promote equality in the emerging industry.

Sponsored by Senator Michelle Henchy (D), the legislation aims to accelerate the advancement of the adult use market in New York while simultaneously supporting efforts to reach ambitious justice goals regarding participation in the cannabis business. It passed by 50-13 votes.

Meanwhile, the assembly course to take similar accompanying action on Wednesday, which means the legislation could be sent to the governor’s office soon. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (Democrat), who took the lead in the adult use legalization bill enacted last year, is sponsoring her chamber’s version of the licensing act.

“In the past year, as the history of the MRTA has passed, New York has laid the foundation for a legal cannabis industry based on social justice, inclusion, and ensuring that economic success remains local,” Henchy said. He said In a press release. “To achieve these goals and create a truly circular economy, we need New York growers to start the growing process now so that when cannabis dispensaries open, we can fill shelves with high-quality products grown in New York.”

“Our current cannabis growers, who have been among those most affected by market volatility, already have the knowledge base to meet this need, and I am proud to sponsor legislation to help them obtain conditional licenses, which will allow New York to implement its cannabis program faster,” the senator said.

As it stands, adults 21 and older can Possession and public consumption of cannabisGift marijuana to other adults as long as it is not reimbursed. But regulators are still finalizing licensing rules, and there are currently no retailers licensed to sell cannabis for adult use in the state.

The justification section of the new bill states that “it is necessary to allow the timely establishment of a market for cannabis used for adults by permitting temporary conditional cultivation and to address adult use of cannabis as soon as possible.”

unlike Submit a separate provisional license bill In the Senate last year, this house is focused heavily on equity goals.

Not only will potential conditional license holders need to obtain a state Department of Agriculture permit to grow hemp as of December 31, 2021 — and have grown the crop for two of the past four years — they will also be required to “participate in the Environmental Sustainability and Social Justice Extension Program.”

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The text of the bill states that “this extension program should be directed to train individuals interested in becoming licensed growers and should utilize remote and in-person trainees with expertise in agribusiness management, sustainable cannabis cultivation, and best practices,” adding that the trainees must be a fit within Applicable definition of an equity applicant.

This currently includes people from communities disproportionately affected by the ban, minority and women-owned businesses, distressed farmers and disabled veterans. However, other bills have been submitted in recent months Aiming to expand property rights qualifications To include other groups such as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and non-binary people.

Moreover, the cannabis invoice Conditional licensees are required to “enter into a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization that actively engages in representing or attempting to represent the applicant’s employees within six months of licensing.”

Henchy said her legislation — which was also co-sponsored by Chamber Champion in last year’s adult use legalization bill, Senator Liz Krueger (D) — will help advance the important social justice goals set forth in the MRTA by creating extension programs that bring in more BIPOC growers to the barn to promote diversity in farming and provide opportunities for all who want to be a part of this exciting space.”

The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will be able to issue conditional licenses until June 1, 2023, after which companies will be required to apply under a standard adult use license. Conditional licenses will be revoked in full as of June 30, 2024.

Conditional cultivation licensees will be authorized to “minimly process and distribute cannabis products, provided that these end products are in the form of a cannabis flower,” the bill states.

“This bill will be particularly useful in providing social equity retail dispensary license holders with products on the first day of retail sales,” says the justification section. “In addition, this act will facilitate social justice growers and processors interested in a pathway to licensing through the invaluable experience and knowledge gained by partnering with existing cannabis growers and processors through a Social Justice Extension Program.”

“This bill will ultimately enhance the social justice program, and help achieve the goal of granting fifty percent of all licenses to social justice applicants,” the document states.

For those who have been granted a conditional license and maintain good standing in accordance with the rules and requirements, these temporary growers and processors “will be eligible to apply for and obtain an adult use cultivation license, provided that the licensee can meet all requirements of a new license.”

“This licensee will, at a minimum, obtain a license for a grower to use the adult size flowering canopy that they have been authorized to grow pursuant to a conditional cultivation license for adult use or a larger flowering canopy size and an authorization to use artificial light as the Board may specify in a regulation,” the text states.

Passing legislation that speeds up state licensing could help reduce the number of companies effectively using the state’s marijuana law’s legal “gifting” requirement to give up cannabis “for free” if a non-marijuana-related purchase is made.

Organizers in New York recently It issued warnings to more than twenty companies They claim that they are either selling marijuana illegally without a license or exploiting the “gifting” element.

Here are some other ways New York lawmakers and regulators are working to build on legalization law as the state prepares to implement retail sales:

Earlier this month, for example, a senator introduced a bill that would Encouraging recycling in the marijuana industry Once retail sales are officially launched.

Hinchey is also sponsoring the legislation, which requires cannabis stores to apply a $1 deposit on any marijuana products sold in single-use plastic containers and also reimburse consumers for these fees if they return the container.

The senator is also behind a separate bill introduced last year that would Prioritizing hemp-based packaging over synthetic plastic for marijuana products.

recycling bill Identical to the provided assembly version Written by Society Member Patricia Fahey (D) last year.

Senator Jeremy Cooney (D) is sponsoring a recently introduced bill to allow licensed cannabis companies Deduction of some commercial expenses on their state tax returns. He’s also behind the above actions to expand the definition of property rights for marijuana law and to introduce temporary licenses to market processing.

Governor Cathy Hochhol (D-D), who replaced Cuomo after his resignation amid a sexual harassment scandal, has repeatedly stressed her interest in Effective implementation of the legalization law.

Hoochul released a state book last month called for Establishment of a $200 million public-private fund To specifically help advance social justice in the state’s booming marijuana market.

The governor said that while commercial licenses for cannabis have yet to be approved since the law was approved last year, the market has the potential to generate billions of dollars, and it is important to “create opportunities for all New Yorkers, especially those from historically marginalized communities.”

This was the proposal Also cited in Hochul .’s Executive Budget, which was released last month. The budget also estimated that New York would generate more than $1.25 billion in marijuana tax revenue over the next six years.

The state Department of Labor has announced separately in recent guidance that New York employers are no longer allowed to do so Drug testing of most workers for marijuana.

Meanwhile, a New York lawmaker introduced a bill in June that would require the state to create an institute for Researching the therapeutic potential of drugs.

Another state legislator introduced legislation in December to Legalization of psilocybin mushrooms for medicinal purposes and establishing facilities where anesthetic drug can be grown and given to patients.

Meanwhile, as New York prepares to launch an adult marijuana market, OCM announced this month Significant expansion of the current medical cannabis program.

Doctors will now be able to issue medical marijuana recommendations to people for any condition they feel can be treated with cannabis, rather than relying on a list of specific, qualified illnesses.

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