But a glimmer of hope remains under the future adult-use cannabis program.
New York’s Cannabis Control Board approved rules on November 3 for making and selling cannabinoid products in the state. Delta-8 THC won't be on the shelves, but there is a glimmer of hope for its future.
The new regulations establish the state’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program, giving businesses a six-month window to come into compliance. Under the program, hemp edibles, beverages and flower can all be made and sold — as long as they adhere to new standards for processing, manufacturing, lab testing and packaging.
Hemp Flower Allowed, Delta-8 THC Not
The new rules allow the sale of cannabinoid hemp flower. But it can’t be marketed for smoking or be sold as a pre-roll, cigar or joint.
Edibles and drinks are in, subject to the new manufacturing standards.
Delta-8 THC is prohibited as a hemp product because of its intoxicating effect. However, the agency left room for delta-8 regulation under the coming Adult-Use Cannabis Program.
Regulators Say Rules Lay Foundation for ‘A New, Safe Industry’
Now that rules are in place, the Office of Cannabis Management will issue final licenses to businesses that have been operating under provisional licenses or permits.
"The hemp regulations we approved today will provide new and expanded opportunities for New York's farmers, processors, and retail businesses, including allowing the sale of hemp flower products and food and beverage products containing CBD” said Cannabis Control Board Member Jen Metzger in a press release.
Metzger, who chaired the Agriculture Committee when she served in the State Senate and sponsored the original Cannabinoid Hemp Program Bill in 2019, added: “We are opening the doors for the hemp program to grow responsibly, establishing standards and requirements to assure safe, high-quality products for the New York market and beyond.”
"The hemp regulations we approved today will provide new and expanded opportunities for New York's farmers, processors, and retail businesses, including allowing the sale of hemp flower products and food and beverage products containing CBD.”
— Jen Metzger, Member of the New York State Cannabis Control Board and sponsor of the original Cannabinoid Hemp Program Bill in 2019
Regulators said clear statewide rules governing what is allowed and what isn’t would help foster the development of a robust cannabinoid hemp industry.
“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 Tremaine Wright, Chair of the Cannabis Control Board. “In just our first month of operating, we have already made it easier for patients to access medical cannabis.”
The Details: Standards on Manufacturing, Testing, Packaging and Labels
The program establishes consumer protection and quality control standards for manufacturing, packaging, labeling and lab testing of cannabinoid products.
”While farmers are also growing hemp for its seed and fiber, cannabinoid hemp extracts require a unique set of safety standards,” said Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, who sponsored the original Cannabinoid Hemp Program Bill in the State Assembly. “The regulations approved by OCM today position [New York State] as a national leader in consumer protection and industry excellence.”
”While farmers are also growing hemp for its seed and fiber, cannabinoid hemp extracts require a unique set of safety standards.”
— Assemblymember Donna Lupardo, Sponsor of the original Cannabinoid Hemp Program Bill
Manufacturing: Products must be manufactured using Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) specific to the product form (e.g., food or dietary supplement) to ensure the products are produced in sanitary conditions.
Testing: Products must be tested by accredited laboratories (ISO/IEC 17025) prior to sale to the consumer for a full panel of analytes including cannabinoid profile, heavy metals, microbials, pesticides, mycotoxins, and residual solvents.
Packages and labels must include:
Nutritional or supplement fact panel
List of all ingredients in the product
Total cannabinoids per product or serving, and the amount of CBD and THC
QR code or link to Certificate of Analysis
Required Warnings for the consumer
Mechanism to report an adverse event
Expiration or best buy date
Thousands of Licenses In the Works
The Cannabinoid Hemp Program has provisionally approved 2,856 licenses so far:
403 distributor provisional licenses
35 manufacturer provisional licenses
36 processor provisional licenses
2,384 retailer provisional licenses
Tweaks and Changes to Rules Likely
Regulators said tweaks are likely in the near future based on additional public comments and to harmonize the new rules with the upcoming Adult-Use Cannabis Program.
“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.”