On October 5, 2021, the Cannabis Control Board (“CCB”) held its first public board meeting where the nominations to serve on the CCB as well as the Chief Equity Officer of the Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”) where approved and changes to New York’s medical cannabis program were implemented.
The CCB approved Jessica Garcia, Reuben R. McDaniel, III, Jen Metzger, Ph.D., and Adam W. Perry to serve as its members. These individuals, along with Tremaine Wright, comprise the CCB and will be responsible for promulgating the rules and regulations contemplated by the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (“MRTA”). The CCB also approved Jason Starr as the Chief Equity Officer of the Office of Cannabis Management (“OCM”). Mr. Starr has over 10 years of experience as an attorney, educator, organizer, and innovator in civil rights and social justice policy. He currently serves as Director of Litigation at the Human Rights Campaign and formerly served as Counsel for Civil Rights and Federal Affairs in the New York Governor’s Office.
Additionally, the CCB passed a resolution directing the Department of Health (“DOH”) to transfer certain staff and functions to the OCM. However, OCM and the DOH have already begun expanding the medical cannabis program under the recently enacted MRTA. Specifically, “whole flower” is now an approved form of medical cannabis that may be proscribed to certified patients and designated caregivers effective October 5, 2021. The amount of medical cannabis that may be provided was also increased from a 30-day supply to a 60-day supply. Lastly, the approval process for facilities to become designated caregiver sites is being enhanced and streamlined to provide a more efficient process for applicants.
The CCB acknowledged that the enactment of regulations pursuant to the MRTA has been slow-moving and delayed. However, the regulations pertaining to the home cultivation of cannabis are expected to be the focus at the next CCB meeting, which has yet to be scheduled, with the remainder of the MRTA’s regulatory framework to take shape shortly thereafter.
For this reason, it is important for those interested in participating directly or indirectly in New York’s cannabis industry to begin preparing for what is expected to be a fast-moving and competitive application process. The Wagoner Firm has been following the progress of New York’s cannabis industry from its inception and remains informed of all developments in the MRTA, the OCM, and the CCB. The Firm is available to answer questions and counsel potential applicants regarding their cannabis-related business goals.