Next in the ramp up to the launch of New York’s adult use cannabis industry are emergency lab rules.
On Monday, the state’s Cannabis Control Board, within the Office of Cannabis Management, approved a resolution on these emergency rules that will permit cannabis labs to “address the immediate need to allow for the lengthy lead times required” to expand testing and to “protect the integrity” of cannabis flower and products for the adult use and medical markets.
While the Board filed draft lab testing regulations in June for public comment, the emergency rules provide a short-term bridge that allows product testing to move forward as regulators finalize lab regulations.
These emergency rules will guide the labs that will test the inaugural batch of cannabis sold — which regulators say will be before the start of 2023, though there are no details on the timing of first sales.
“We need a set of rules in place to guide testing of products that will be produced by our conditional cultivator and processor licensees in order to ensure the safety and quality of products that will be sold in our first adult use dispensaries,” Tremaine Wright, chair of the Board, said on Monday.
The Board also approved the first 15 conditional processor licensees and 19 additional conditional cultivator licensees. The total number of farmers with conditional cultivator licenses is now 242. Chris Alexander, executive director of OCM, said that roughly 300 applications for conditional cultivator licenses were submitted.
These conditional licenses are part of the broader Seeding Opportunity Initiative that lawmakers and regulators established to put equity applicants first in line to build out adult use cannabis businesses. These licensees have been first to grow cannabis for adult use, and, soon, those holding conditional retail licenses, for which the application will open by the end of this month, will be the first to sell that cannabis to adults. Once final adult use regulations are in place, and applications are open to all interested entities, these conditional license holders will have to reapply for formal licensure.
Several times during Monday’s Board meeting, officials referenced recent tours of the state’s first legal cannabis farms. Board member Jen Metzger said that the “future is bright for our industry here.”
“It was really inspiring to visit the farms on that farm tour and just see the quality product that has been grown, sungrown cannabis,” Metzger said.
The Board also named OCM’s first Director of Policy: John Kagia. Kagia is the Chief Knowledge Officer at New Frontier Data, a cannabis data company, and his LinkedIn profile lists his time with the company dating back to 2015. Regulators are banking on Kagia’s experience in the industry.
“What I see in this candidate that made him stand out and what resulted in this recommendation is somebody who understands where New York’s market will be in the larger landscape of the cannabis industry and the opportunity that we have here to build a model market,” Alexander said.