New York cannabis regulators finalized the rules for the state’s cannabinoid hemp program, which will allow the sale of hemp flower but not hemp-derived delta-8 THC products.

New York’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) developed regulations concerning hemp marketing, lab testing, packaging and labeling as well as announcing a 60-day public comment period for New Yorkers to have their say on a proposal to allow registered medical cannabis patients to grow their own plants at home. The new rules take immediate effect but businesses have a six-month grace period to comply with the requirements

“We are working as quickly as we can to build a new, safe industry that promotes public health and grows our economy, and with today’s approval of hemp regulations, we are taking another step forward in delivering on that promise for New Yorkers,” said CCB Chair Tremaine Wright in a press release. “In just our first month of operating, we have already made it easier for patients to access medical cannabis.”

While hemp flower can be legally sold in New York, it’s not permitted to market it “for the purpose of smoking or be in the form of a pre-roll, cigar or joint.”

Another contentious move is the CCB’s decision to prohibit sales of delta-8 THC products, which have become increasingly popular since hemp was legalized in 2018. The CCB reasoned that since delta-8 THC has “intoxicating qualities” it is “better left to be regulated in the future Adult-Use program.”

New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) welcomed the announcement of the hemp program’s rules and the proposal to expand access to medical marijuana.

“The Office of Cannabis Management is hard at work to build a new, safe cannabis industry in New York, and we are proud that in our first month we have already worked with our Board to finalize the rules for our hemp program and vastly expand access to our medical program so New Yorkers can get the relief they need,” said OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander.

“The regulations approved by the Control Board today are just the start for the Cannabinoid Hemp Program, and we plan to soon propose for public and Board consideration further changes that will bring the program in-line with the regulatory structures in other states, ensuring New Yorkers have the highest level of protection while providing our businesses with the tools they need to compete.”

The finalized rules means the OCM can now begin issuing business licenses for the hemp-derived cannabinoid market. The CCB oversees the OCM within the New York State Liquor Authority, which also regulates the state’s hemp and medical cannabis industries.

CCB members were recently appointed by New York’s legislative leaders and Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), former-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s replacement, who made the swift implementation of the state’s marijuana legalization law a “priority” for her administration.

Under New York’s marijuana laws, it’s legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to three ounces of marijuana or 24 grams of concentrates as well as to smoke it in public places where tobacco smoking is allowed. The first recreational cannabis retailers are yet to open their doors and aren’t expected to until next year.

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