As of January 1, 2021, the New York Compassionate Care Act (NYCCA) is New York State’s premier marijuana law. NYCCA governs the medical marijuana program in New York and provides employment protection to certified patients with serious illnesses under New York’s comprehensive human rights law.
New York has been running an industrial hemp agricultural research pilot program since 2016 (under the 2014 Federal Agriculture Act). New York did not submit a plan of its own to the USDA under the 2018 Farm Bill due to concerns about the USDA’s tentative final rule. As a result, the department advises growers interested in industrial hemp crops in 2021 to apply for a grower license directly from the USDA. In December 2019, Governor Cuomo signed an amendment to the Agriculture and Markets Act that provides additional regulations for the manufacture and sale of hemp extracts, including CBD. It shared authority over hemp regulation between the Ministry of Agriculture (to monitor hemp growers) and the Ministry of Health (to monitor hemp extract). It also provides for the creation of a working group for hemp and hemp extract. In October 2020, New York published proposed regulations for the manufacture and sale of hemp-derived CBD.
New York law provides limited protection for adult marijuana users. On August 28, 2019, New York decriminalized small amounts of marijuana possession across the state, although it can still be fined as a violation. As of May 2020, New York City has banned testing of THC prior to discontinuing THC in most jobs. The main exception is certain security-related work. There is no protection for growing or selling cannabis.
For the past two years, New York has tried and failed to revise its cannabis laws as part of the Executive Budget process. Governor Cuomo has included the “Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act” in his draft executive budget. Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, it was removed from the budget approved on March 31, 2020. If the law is similarly reintroduced next year, New York’s medical, adult use, and hemp laws will be amended by centralizing their regulations in the newly established Office of Cannabis Management, which is “manufacturing, wholesale and marketing.” controls the retail trade ”. Distribution, transportation, and sale of cannabis, medicinal cannabis, and hemp cannabis in New York State ”. It would include several new taxes on adult marijuana. A similar measure failed in 2019.
The NYCCA (NY Pub. Health Act Sections 3360 through 3369-E) became law on July 5, 2014. The terms are codified in Title 10, Chapter XIII of the New York Code, Rules and Regulations. It contains a seven-year sunset clause that expires on July 5, 2021 (although it can be extended if the regulatory system is not otherwise revised).
The NYCCA enables doctors to certify patients with serious medical conditions (such as cancer, HIV, epilepsy, or PTSD) and obtain a registration card. Once a registration card is issued, the law protects the certified patient and their designated caregiver from possessing and transporting a 30-day supply of medical marijuana (which cannot be consumed in a public place). According to the latest available figures, New York has 134,683 registered patients (about 0.5% of the population).
Current law also regulates the sale of medical marijuana and limits the manufacture and distribution of medical marijuana in the state to licensed companies known as registered organizations. These registered organizations are subject to regulations prohibiting them from employing convicted criminals. They must manufacture marijuana in a closed, secure facility in New York state, regulate laboratory tests, and enforce safety measures. Prices are regulated by the Ministry of Health (although they vary from pharmacy to pharmacy), and advertising is also regulated (and is all but prohibited).
The number of registered organizations was initially limited to five, but was eventually increased to ten. Each organization has multiple storefronts, and most offer home delivery. Applications are not currently being accepted but come with a non-refundable fee of $ 10,000 and a registration fee of $ 200,000 for successful applicants. Registration is valid for two years, is non-transferable and does not have to be renewed more than six or less than four months before it expires. Similar fees apply for renewal.
Registered patients have a “disability” under the New York Human Rights Act (NY Exec. Law Sections 290-301). This entitles patients to some protection from discrimination, although the law in New York is sparse. However, there is no entitlement to impairment at work. Patient use of medical marijuana may require employers and employees to work on adequate housing. As of May 10, 2020, New York City employers may no longer consider applications for marijuana and THC.
Hemp & CBD
In 2020, the only lawful way to grow industrial hemp in New York State is to participate in the New York Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot, approved under the terms of the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by the Department of Agriculture and Markets. New York treats industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity under the New York Agricultural and Market Act.
The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets issued a letter to growers dated August 14, 2020, outlining its reservations about the USDA’s tentative final rule, which sets out the goals of the Farm Bill for 2018. Due to its reservations, New York has not submitted a plan to the USDA and has advised growers to apply directly to the USDA for a grower license for the 2021 season.
In 2019, New York changed its Agriculture and Markets Act regarding hemp cultivation and the regulation of hemp extracts. The new law includes a licensing system for producers, manufacturers and extractors of cannabinoids, packaging and labeling requirements, and rules for laboratory testing and advertising.
In late 2020, New York released a comprehensive proposal for a regulation on the manufacture, distribution and sale of CBD made from hemp. Once adopted, these rules will be part 1005 of Title 10 (Health) of the Official New York State Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations to enforce the provisions of Article 33-B of the New York Public Health Act (PHL) to set). The regulations establish a system for the approval of manufacturers and retailers of CBD products, with the general aim of putting in place consumer protection measures to ensure that products are manufactured, tested and labeled according to comparative standards of similar products in the dietary supplement, food and cannabis industries will.
Marijuana for adults
There are currently no laws in New York authorizing adult use of marijuana. New York changed its penal code to stipulate that possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is a violation punishable by a ticket of $ 50 for an ounce or less, or $ 200 for an amount between one and two ounces. Marijuana has also been included in the definition of tobacco for the purposes of the Public Health Act (New York’s Anti-Smoking Act). As noted above, pre-hiring testing for THC and marijuana is banned for most jobs in New York City.
Try to overtake cannabis in New York
In 2019 and 2020, Governor Cuomo tried and failed to pass a version of the Law on Regulation and Taxation of Cannabis in his executive budget. In January 2021, he announced his intention to reintroduce the measure this year, especially given the legalization of New Jersey (and the view that tax revenues will remain on the table). An overview of previous suggestions is helpful.
The executive budget is likely to propose a comprehensive framework for regulating cannabis, administered by the newly established Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), centralizing all licensing, enforcement and economic development functions into one unit. The OCM would manage all of the licensing, production, and distribution of cannabis products in the adult, industrial, and medicinal cannabis markets.
New York would impose three taxes on adult marijuana use. The first tax would be levied on the cultivation of cannabis at the rate of $ 1 per dry weight gram of cannabis flower and $ 0.25 per dry weight gram of cannabis trim. The second tax would be levied on a wholesaler’s sale to a retail pharmacy at 20 percent of the invoice price. The third tax would be levied on the same sale by a wholesaler to a retail pharmacy at 2 percent of the invoice price, but levied in trust for and due to the county in which the retail pharmacy is located.
In the adult cannabis market, the OCM would implement a three tier distribution model. Similar to the alcohol market, the OCM would license manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Growers would be prohibited from also owning cannabis retail establishments. The program would limit the number of producers and retail pharmacies to protect themselves from a market slump, promote equity through artisan farmers and cooperatives, and provide training and incubators to ensure meaningful and sustainable participation from communities disproportionately harmed by the cannabis ban will. In the hemp market, the OCM would manage the licensing, extraction and distribution of pharmaceutical grade wellness and cannabis products.
On January 6, 2021, a separate legalization law was also reintroduced in the New York Senate (NY SB 854). It is considered slightly less likely to be passed than the governor’s version that is attached to the budget.
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