The New York Cannabis Control Board (CCB) held its first meeting on Tuesday, a key step towards implementing the state’s adult marijuana program.

Regulators have announced that certain changes to the state’s existing medical cannabis program that were included in the recreational legalization law enacted earlier this year will take effect immediately. Dispensaries will now be allowed to sell flower-based marijuana products to skilled patients, for example. But home cultivation for patients remains banned for the time being because the authorities did not meet the deadline to develop rules for such an activity.

It’s unclear when the home growing regulations will be in place, but former New York MP Tremaine Wright (D), who chairs the CCB, said her body was “very committed to drafting these regulations. and post them for public comment, and expects them to be an agenda item at one of the upcoming board meetings. However, she did not specify when to be. expect that to happen.

Members of the Board of Directors, who recently appointed by the governor and legislative heads, also discussed ethical considerations for regulators, approved hires of key personnel and talked about next steps for the panel.

While the conversation was largely preliminary and lasted just over half an hour, the board approved some regulatory positions such as director of equities. Jason Starr, who served as deputy legal counsel to former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and also worked at the New York Civil Liberties Union, will assume this role.

The panel also announced that the state’s medical marijuana program would be immediately affected. Patients will be able to access flower-based cannabis products at existing dispensaries, and the $ 50 registration fee for patients and caregivers is permanently waived, for example. Lawmakers who sponsored the legalization bill had argued that these changes to the law could be self-executing and did not require the regulator to be seated to be enacted, but Cuomo’s administration had a different point of view.

Gov. Kathy Hochul (R), who replaced Cuomo after he resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal, has repeatedly stressed his interest in effectively implement the legalization law which was signed in March.

At a recent event, she touted the fact that she quickly made regular appointments which had been delayed under its predecessor. “I believe there are thousands and thousands of jobs” that could be created in the new industry, the governor said.

Lawyers are encouraged by the appointments and Hochul’s attention to the matter. And now with the table filled and after having held an introduction Meet, work begins to create rules for commercial marijuana licenses. Members will have broad authority to set licensing regulations, and activists will be watching closely to see how much priority social equity candidates are given.

The CCB is responsible for overseeing the Independent Office of Cannabis Management within the New York State Liquor Authority, which is also responsible for regulating the medical marijuana and hemp industries.

Currently, adults 21 and older can own up to three ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of concentrate in New York City, and they can also smoke marijuana in public anywhere tobacco can be smoked-but there are no stores open yet.

New York’s first licensed recreational marijuana retailers may indeed be located on Indian territory, with a tribe officially opening applications for potential licensees earlier this month.

In July, a senator from New York introduced a bill to create an interim marijuana license category so that farmers can start growing and selling cannabis before the adult use program is officially launched. The bill has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

However, as the implementation process has lengthened, a GOP senator wants to give local courts another year to decide. whether they will refuse to allow marijuana businesses to operate in their region — a proposal that advocates say is unnecessary and would create undue complications for the industry.

Under the law as promulgated, municipalities must determine whether they will refuse to license marijuana retailers or social consumption sites by December 31, 2021. Senator George Borrello (R) presented legislation earlier this month that would extend that deadline by one year.

Advocates for legalization do not buy the argument, however.

The fact that regulators in neighboring New Jersey are adding pressure to get the market up and running recently published rules for its adult marijuana program, which is being implemented after voters approved a referendum on legalization last year.

The state comptroller recently predicted that New York would eventually generate $ 245 million in annual marijuana-related revenue, which they think will help compensate for losses due to lower tobacco sales.

For the first year of cannabis sales, the state is expected to collect just $ 20 million in taxes and fees. That will be part of the roughly $ 26.7 billion in new revenue New York is expected to generate in fiscal year 2021-22 under a budget the legislature passed in April.

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

Illinois marijuana sales near $ 1 billion in 2021 with big numbers in September

Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side pocket images.

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