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New York Adult Use Cannabis: A Timing Update

By Simon Malinowski, Attorney at Harris Bricken

There has a been a lot going on as New York continues to move towards rolling out its full adult use cannabis licensing, which has itself led to a lot of confusion in terms of timelines. The most recent notable event was the end of the adult use regulation public comment period, which closed on February 13, 2023. We touched on anticipated timing in our New York “State of the State” post, but we figured it made sense to have a dedicated timing post since it’s still the first (and last) question every one asks.

To avoid burying the lede, we have heard that final adult use rules and regulations are expected in the fall of 2023. It is not clear if that means that some (or all) of the license application portals will open in the fall, but we think it’s safe to assume that the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and Cannabis Control Board (CCB) will push to get full licensing going in the same general timeframe.

While it may seem like this is another delay, it is important to remember that the OCM and CCB must follow the process established by the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). After the initial set of adult use cannabis rules and regulations were released in November of 2022 and formally published in mid-December of 2022, there was the mandatory 60 day public comment period. If there are substantive changes to the rules and regulations, the revised version will be subject to a 45 public comment period.

We expect that there will be substantive changes to the rule and regulations, which will trigger the second public comment period. The OCM and CCB have been open about receiving and incorporating feedback from the public, as evidenced by the numerous public meetings hosted by the OCM and CCB throughout New York State.

While substantial changes and the corresponding extension of the licensing timeline is frustrating, it is important to remember that the OCM and CCB are in the process of creating a legal cannabis industry in New York from whole-cloth. The first version of the rules and regulations was 282 pages long and, in our opinion, was a great starting point. Working through the nuances of rules and regulations for a two-tiered system with numerous license types is an important, if time-consuming process. Consider and incorporating the practical ramifications of the regulations will go a long way towards minimizing practical challenges once the full spectrum of licenses is issued.

Re-published with the permission of Harris Bricken and The Canna Law Blog

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