KINGSTON, NY – You can have it. You can smoke it. But until the Cannabis Control Board fleshed out the structure of the state’s new cannabis law, it will be some time before people over the age of 21 can legally purchase marijuana in the state. New York State.
The new law allows individuals to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana (although, again, it is still illegal to buy or sell cannabis in New York City, and federal laws prohibit its transport across borders. States). It can be smoked or vaped anywhere tobacco is permitted, with a few exceptions. For example, smoking is prohibited in the car even if it is parked as well as anywhere alcohol is served, said Jennifer Metzger, former senator for Rosendale and member of the Cannabis Control Council.
While the law may currently seem like a conundrum, Metzger said there really is some logic behind it.
âIt takes time to put the whole regulatory framework in place and it also takes time to create new businesses,â she said.
Work to create this cadre was hampered by a six-month delay in the creation of the board, in large part due to the sexual harassment scandal that enveloped former Governor Andrew Cuomo and ultimately led to his resignation.
Governor Kathy Hochul appointed the last two members of the five-member panel at the end of September, paving the way for the board to begin its work.
Since October, the board of directors has been working on developing the regulations that will govern the new industry, including issuing applications and licenses to cannabis companies and approving the rules and regulations that will govern the new industry.
The body has already made progress, particularly with regulations governing medical marijuana – although not yet available, the council has added marijuana for smoking to the approved marijuana list. for medical purposes and expanded the number of providers who can prescribe it – and the Cannabinoid Hemp (CBD) program, allowing it in foods and drinks up to certain thresholds.
Now, Metzger said, the board is turning its attention to the adult recreational use program.
Originally, the council planned to roll out the adult recreation program within 18 months of the law being passed in March; Although that delay seems a bit more intimidating due to the late start, Metzger said Commissioners believe it may still be on hand.
âWe are trying to make up for lost time,â she said. âWe hope to exceed the 18-month deadline. We hope to be able to get the regulatory framework in place before then, but we can’t promise. “
Metzger said the new law allows for the issuance of nine different types of licenses. The board, she said, needs to define what those licenses are and what criteria must be met to receive a particular license. The council should also establish criteria for those applying for licenses under the provisions of the Social and Economic Equity Act. By law, 50 percent of licenses must be awarded to applicants for social and economic equity. And it must also establish regulations for on-site marijuana consumption as well as regulations governing advertising and marketing. In addition, it must develop regulations for home cultivation, which will be allowed 18 months after the first dispensary opens, as well as for the cultivation, distribution, processing and delivery of products.
âThere is a lot of meat to be put on the bones of the law,â she said.
At the same time, Metzger added, the Cannabis Control Board is in the process of staffing the new Cannabis Management Office. That office, she said, will have more than 140 employees, including inspectors, compliance officers and staff reviewing claims.
The Board of Directors recently appointed Chris Alexander as Head of the Office of Cannabis Management and appointed Jason Starr as Director of Equities.
A 13-member advisory board that will advise the Cannabis Control Board is also to be appointed, she said.
At every step of the way, according to Metzger, the council will seek public input before passing the final bylaw. The public comment period on the local cultivation of medical marijuana ends Tuesday, January 18.
To learn more about New York State’s cannabis laws or to follow the work of the Cannabis Control Board, visit www.cannabis.ny.gov.