New York Cannabis Control Board: Fifth Meeting News

On January 25, 2022, the New York State Cannabis Control Board (CCB) held its fifth public meeting. The CCB and Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) made several noteworthy announcements, including the approval of delegation of hiring to the Executive Director to streamline hiring and onboarding, and the roll out of virtual “Cannabis Conversations” planned for different regions in the state, among other items.

Most notably, CCB member Reuben McDaniels provided more details about the proposed Social and Economic Equity Fund (“Fund”). The $200 million public/private fund will provide funding to certain eligible applicants from communities disproportionately impacted by disproportionate policing during cannabis prohibition. The Fund will provide support for the costs of establishing and operating adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries. The goal of the fund is to facilitate the buildout of facilities as the OCM issues licenses. DASNY will assist in overseeing sites and design and buildout of sites “so that capital and leasing will not be an impediment to success” and will provide a range of services including identifying or acquiring retail dispensary locations; designing, constructing, and renovating the locations to operate as adult-use cannabis dispensaries and fitting out locations with furniture and other equipment as needed to operate the establishments, among other activities. The Fund will be funded from OCM revenues and private investors. There was no explanation provided for why the fund is currently limited to only dispensaries.

During the meeting, Executive Director Chris Alexander announced the expansion of the medical cannabis program, including clinicians’ ability to certify patients for any clinical condition per their discretion.

Alexander also announced the public comment period on home cultivation regulations has closed. The OCM received over 160 comments, which are currently undergoing OCM review and analysis.

Lastly, Alexander provided data regarding the December 31, 2021, deadline for municipalities to opt out of allowing retail dispensaries and on site consumption lounges to operate in their jurisdictions. 10 percent of cities and 34 percent of municipalities have opted out of all cannabis sales.  Municipalities that opt-out may opt-back-in at any time.

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