NY Cannabis Update

February 22, 2024

We are halfway through February of the New Year and that means a lot of things for NYS Cannabis. Last year started out a little rocky, but ended with good things on the horizon. The CGS events last summer gave us the much needed boost in not only business, but confidence in the industry. We saw our products span across the state and into hands of people who may have never heard of us. We met some amazing customers and other cultivators in the industry and we built some amazing relationships with them all. We finally saw some return on the investment made to bring you the products we do, allowing us to move forward with season 3. The New Year started with one opening after another and more are being announced everyday. Access is expanding and doors are opening. What we’ve worked so hard for is finally starting to come to fruition.

Licensing

While we are now seeing legal dispensaries open at a more reasonable pace, the legal cannabis market is making some big changes in the near future. CAURD licenses are still being issued and revised, but now licenses outside of the CAURD program are being issued.  100 new non-conditional licenses were issued by the Cannabis Control Board and the OCM that included retail, micro business, cultivator, and distributor. Two research licenses have also been granted.

Taking care of business

All of the talking points we’re sharing today were planned to be brought up at last months hearing, but it was abruptly canceled after Gov. Kathy Hochul found out they had only planned to approve 3 licenses that day. Gov. Hochul has spoken up about possible leadership changes in the CCB due to their disastrous rollout of the cannabis industry in NYS. With her help, the board revisited their agenda and have now issued 100 new licenses at this last meeting. In addition to her pushing for licenses, she has also drawn up a budget plan to eliminate the potency tax put on cannabis, which drives prices up in dispensaries. She is hoping that will lower price tags and draw people away from the illicit market and into legal dispensaries. Hand in hand with that, the Assembly filed a bill to assist in the closure of illicit shops and seizure of their products. The illegal market HAS to be taken care of to protect the investment and assist the legal market in expanding. It can be hard to justify a car ride to a legal dispo when you can walk to two illegal shops, so they are hoping this will help curb the illegal market and push customers into legal dispensaries.

Banking

One aspect of the business that consumers don’t think about is banking. Cannabis is not federally legal and most banks are federally backed. This limits the number of banks that will do business with the industry. You may find some dispensaries are cash only and offer an ATM. This isn’t a way to make more money off of you, this is because it is near impossible to get a bank to do business with us. Even when we find one, the fees and surcharges are out of this world and turn off customers from using cards. On the back end, business owners have had a hard time finding payroll companies to work with for the same reasons listed above. Gov. Hochul is also pushing for a federal tax relief for industry business that have been previously blocked under federal tax codes. State level changes have been made, but she is pushing for it on a federal level This would be a lifesaver for the cultivators and business owners who are still trying to get back in the black from their initial investment.

Home growing parameters

Keep in mind while reading that these laws have not been passed yet, but have been voted on by the CCB to be included as part of the resolution to improve NYS Cannabis.

If you plan to grow at home in NYS, there will be some limitations and regulations on how much you can legally possess.

Currently as it stands, adults will be allowed up to 6 plants per household-3 mature, 3 immature. For homes with multiple adults, the maximum allowed is 6 mature and 6 immature plants, with no more than 5 pounds of bud from all plants at the end of the season. The outline will also address storage and how to prevent odors from being a nuisance to neighbors. These guidelines have been drawn up to allow people to grow enough to sustain themselves, without being able to have enough to sell for profit. No rules have been mentioned as to if grows need to be outdoors or can be done indoors with a tent set-up. Those issues will be addressed as the resolution moves forward.

We hope to continue to bring you good news on the NYS Cannabis front. With new bills being drafted and passed all the time, we can only hope this is the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been waiting for.

If you would like to read more about this last Cannabis Control Board meeting, click here.