Columbia Care Brings Scale To New York Cannabis Program Through Acquisition Of One Of The Largest Operating Greenhouse Sites On East Coast

New site expands Columbia Care’s cultivation and production footprint by approximately 1M square feet; offers flexibility to scale with increasing market demand; supports potential use for future social equity partnerships and adult-use sales

 

NEW YORK: Columbia Care Inc. announced today it has acquired a 34-acre cultivation site in eastern Long Island, New York. The Company’s first harvest and sales from this property for the state’s medical marijuana program is expected in Q4 2021, pending regulatory approvals.

The Long Island location offers supplemental cultivation and manufacturing capacity for Columbia Care’s existing Rochester facility that has served New York’s more than 120,000 medical cannabis patients since 2015, to meet the demand of a growing medical market, which, subject to regulatory approval, will include a number of newly approved additional form factors, including flower, in 2021. The new site also allows the Company to diversify its operations and open opportunities to create potential social equity business partnerships; a dedicated, federally-licensed global medical cannabis manufacturing and research hub in Rochester; and support the company’s entrance into the state’s adult-use program.

This facility currently has approximately 740,000 square feet of operational greenhouse space, which the Company plans to acquire upon phase two of the transaction, with 200,000 square feet of incremental grow capacity, situated perfectly for both retail distribution to Columbia Care’s three NYC and Long Island dispensaries and wholesale distribution to the most densely populated metropolitan area in the United States. The property’s infrastructure is fully developed for industrial scale and throughput and is currently used for growing ornamental flowers. Additionally, the existing owners have previously planted and successfully harvested industrial hemp on-site.

“As a company whose roots are in New York, it has been incredibly important that we build a scalable, vertically-integrated operation in the state that not only delivers the very best quality and prices to our patients and partners today, but also ensures that we can continue to deliver on our mission to New Yorkers through future legal cannabis programs. This is a commitment to our patients, communities, regulators, elected officials and social equity partners that we are here for the long term and intend to be the leaders who define cannabis in New York State – made in New York, by New Yorkers for New Yorkers,” said Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care. “We are eager to see New York’s regulated market emerge as one of the top global cannabis markets, with some market size estimates exceeding $5B by 2025 and more than 75,000 jobs created by 2027. We intend to continue to invest in opportunities that support this growth for all.”

Columbia Care will pay a total purchase price of $42.5M, which includes $15.0M in cash and $27.5M in Columbia Care stock. The initial payment of $30.0M has been made. The remaining $12.5M in stock payment will follow in August 2021 upon completion of the second phase of the transaction.

The Happy Munkey Says Farewell To New York Prohibition With 4/20 Celebration

By Stu Zakim

There are some dates that transformed New York: In 1858, Central Park opened; The Holland Tunnel’s opening in 1927; The Beatles playing at Shea Stadium in 1965; and the opening of Studio 54 in 1977.  The latest date that will surely find its way onto that list is April 20, 2021 – the day NYC’s legendary speakeasy, The Happy Munkey, hosted it’s “Farewell to Prohibition” celebration.

Happy Munkey founders Vladimir Bautista and Ramon Reyes are celebrities in the Cannabis community.  When they opened in mid 2017 at an “underground” location, they created a space that offered their invitation only guests a safe, comfortable atmosphere while hanging with very cool people all bonding over Cannabis; black, white, straight, gay, it didn’t matter as Vlad and Ramon often say, “It’s about the culture.” On any given night, you could share a joint with a NFL, NBA or MLB player, a hip hop or rap star, an actor or a famous singer, all there to share their love of Cannabis.

After having to close due to the COVID virus, Munkey fans from all over the world were left with no place to get together.  Sure, we had Zoom calls and more recently, Clubhouse chats, but nothing could compare to the in-person experience.  That all changed after New York State legalized Cannabis on April 1. With the success of people being vaccinated, Vlad and Ramon and David Hernandez decided what better way to celebrate this moment in time than doing what they do best.  And, to take it to another level, no more “underground” location; in typical Munkey style, they wanted to make a statement now that Cannabis was legal and they sure did – Bobby Van’s Steakhouse directly opposite the NY Stock Exchange building.  

What an evening.  The restaurant was COVID safe; tables were at least 6 feet apart, masks were required when not consuming or drinking and bottles of hand sanitizer on each table.  They turned a steakhouse into The Munkey – DJ, people mingling with each other, consuming responsibly, in this case, not sharing, and everywhere you looked was either an old friend or leaders in the weed space: Leo Bridgewater, Joy Beckerman, journalist Steve Bloom (who discovered the 420 phenomenon while a High Times editor), Curved Papers’ Michael O’Malley, Arnaud Dumas De Rauly and Sasha Aksenov of The Blinc Group, Fab Five Freddy, Phoenix Nutraceuticals Ruben Lindo and other notables were there, all rocking out and smoking through the party. 

Looking back on my Cannabis consumption through the years in New York City, I must agree with the cliche, you always remember your first, in this case, my first legal pot party!  What a rush and thanks to the Happy Munkey for all they have done to take the culture to the next level.  And, the best is yet to come.

Curved Papers & Dana Beal Offer NYC Pot Smokers Who Vaccinate “Joints For Jabs”

NEW YORK: Brooklyn born Curved Papers inventor Michael O’Malley has teamed up with long time New York City Yippie NORML Act Up pot activist Dana Beal to offer an NYC version of “Joints For Jabs,” which Edelstein first staged in D.C. earlier this Spring. Anyone with a vaccination card can get a free joint this afternoon in Union Square!

New York City is abuzz this Spring following the March 31st early morning si

gning of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, championed by Crstal Peoples-Stokes and in the Assembly, and Liz Krueger in the Senate. MRTA was the fruit of six years of leadership by these two women, The Drug Policy Alliance, NORML and many other ad hoc coalitions, including Curved Papers’ “Do The Right Thing, New York,” which featured Fab Five Freddy and Jerry Scyzer, who showed and really kick started a surge of energy that toppled years of entrenched corporate resistance by The Governor’s team to the popular view. With the help of House Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate President Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the government did its job. The final day of testimonies in favor of the MRTA was riveting and emotional.

Of course, we can’t really have full out live events yet, but we want to make this gesture to remind the cannabis community to keep working together with the Federal government to defeat the virus, and legalize at that level. We hope The President hears about it, so D.C. and New York were our best bets.

Getting vaccinated is something to believe in. Science. It’s an outdoor pop-up event on a Spring day. Pass by and say “high.” We’re masking up and staying socially distant and we strongly suggest that you don’t share joints! Even on this blessed day. Dana will be there to give you each your own, and he’ll be wearing gloves. Come on people now, get together, smartly.

We’re looking forward to having a normal NYC Cannabis Parade next year. Dana has been a part of it for decades as it grew from New York City to the global annual phenomenon in over 40 cities around the world that it is today. In recent years, Steve Bloom of celebstoner.com has taken a greater leadership role and taken the event to a new level. His musical background has made the rally end of the parade a real festival, featuring significant political speakers as well. We hope we’ll be able to do that kind of thing in the City again next Spring. Last year was different, and so will this year be different again. But we’re getting somewhere. In New York we are doing a good job.

This Summer, hopefully we can have a Summer of Love in New York City. The MRTA introduces equity and justice standards that are state-of-the-art and a model for the country. Diverse license application teams are receiving design and engineer support from Curved High Tech’s new CANNA CAD NY program.

Contact MIT Architecture grad Michael O’Malley for details. Innovation.

Curved Papers are easy to roll and easy to buy. Get a four pack on your phone! curvedpapers.com/shop/. Use coupon code 4202021 for 10% off and free shipping today!

NEW YORK: Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Legalizing Adult-Use Cannabis

Legislation (S.854-A/A.1248-A) Establishes the Office of Cannabis Management; Expands New York’s Existing Medical Marijuana Program; Establishes a Licensing System; and Creates a Social and Economic Equity Program Encouraging Individuals Disproportionately Impacted by Cannabis Enforcement to Participate in Industry

Tax Collection Projected to Reach $350 Million Annually and Potentially Create 30,000 to 60,000 Jobs

NEW YORK:  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.854-A/A.1248-A) legalizing adult-use cannabis, fulfilling a key component of his 2021 State of the State agenda. The bill signing comes after the Governor, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced this past Sunday, March 28, that an agreement had been reached on the legislation. The bill establishes the Office of Cannabis Management to implement a comprehensive regulatory framework that covers medical, adult-use and cannabinoid hemp. The bill also expands New York State’s existing medical marijuana and cannabinoid hemp programs. The legislation provides licensing for marijuana producers, distributors, retailers, and other actors in the cannabis market, and creates a social and economic equity program to assist individuals disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement that want to participate in the industry.

The development of an adult-use cannabis industry in New York State under this legislation has the potential to create significant economic opportunities for New Yorkers and the State. Tax collections from the adult-use cannabis program are projected to reach $350 million annually. Additionally, there is the potential for this new industry to create 30,000 to 60,000 new jobs across the State.

“This is a historic day in New York – one that rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences, embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizes marginalized communities so those that have suffered the most will be the first to reap the benefits.” Governor Cuomo said. “This was one of my top priorities in this year’s State of the State agenda and I’m proud these comprehensive reforms address and balance the social equity, safety and economic impacts of legal adult-use cannabis. I thank both the Leader and the Speaker, and the tireless advocacy of so many for helping make today’s historic day possible.”

“Today, New York stepped up and took transformative action to end the prohibition of adult-use marijuana,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “This legislation is a momentous first step in addressing the racial disparities caused by the war on drugs that has plagued our state for too long. This effort was years in the making and we have finally achieved what many thought was impossible, a bill that legalizes marijuana while standing up for social equity, enhancing education and protecting public safety. I applaud Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes for their commitment and leadership on this issue.”

“Passage of this bill will mean not just legalizing marijuana, but also investing in education and our communities, and it brings to an end decades of disproportionately targeting people of color under state and federal drug laws,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “I thank Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes for her years of advocacy and efforts to make this bill a reality. My colleagues and I knew it was important to do this the right way – in a way that would include those targeted and frequently excluded from the process. Now, this legal industry will create jobs across our state, including for those who have had their lives upended by years of unjust drug laws.”

“I’m extremely humbled, proud and honored to have passed the historic Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act with my partners in government Senator Liz Krueger and Governor Cuomo. This social justice initiative will provide equity to positively transform disenfranchised communities of color for the better,” said Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “I believe this bill can serve as a blue print for future states seeking inclusive cannabis legalization. I would be remiss not to thank all of my family, colleagues, advocates and supporters over 8 long years.”

The Governor has included legalizing adult-use cannabis in his last three budget proposals.

The New York State Cannabis/Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act contains the following provisions:

Establish the Office of Cannabis Management
The Office of Cannabis Management will be charged with enforcing a comprehensive regulatory framework governing medical, adult-use cannabinoid hemp. It will be governed by a five-member board, with three members appointed by the Governor and one appointment by each house. OCM will be an independent office operating as part of the New York State Liquor Authority.

Medical Cannabis
The legislation will allow people with a larger list of medical conditions to access medical marijuana, increase the number of caregivers allowed per patient, and permit home cultivation of medical cannabis for patients.

Adult-Use Cannabis
The legislation will create a two-tier licensing structure that will allow for a large range of producers by separating those growers and processors from also owning retail stores. The legislation creates licenses for producers and distributors, among other entities, and the legislation will implement strict quality control, public health and consumer protections. A social and economic equity program will facilitate individuals disproportionally impacted by cannabis enforcement, including creating a goal of 50% of licenses to go to a minority or woman owned business enterprise, or distressed farmers or service-disabled veterans to encourage participation in the industry.

The Bill implements a new cannabis tax structure that will replace a weight-based tax with a tax per mg of THC at the distributor level with different rates depending on final product type. The wholesale excise tax will be moved to the retail level with a 9 percent state excise tax. The local excise tax rate will be 4 percent of the retail price. Counties will receive 25% of the local retail tax revenue and 75 percent will go to the municipality.

Cannabinoid Hemp
The legislation permits the sale of hemp flower in the cannabinoid hemp program, and allows for smokeable forms only when adult use retail stores are operational.

Adult-Use Cannabis Tax Revenue
All cannabis taxes will be deposited in the New York state cannabis revenue fund. Revenue covers reasonable costs to administer the program and implement the law. The remaining funding will be split three ways:

  • 40 Percent to Education
  • 40 Percent to Community Grants Reinvestment Fund
  • 20 Percent to Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund

Municipal Opt-Out
Cities, towns, and villages may opt-out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses by passing a local law by December 31, 2021 or nine months after the effective date of the legislation. They cannot opt-out of adult-use legalization.

Traffic Safety
The New York State Department of Health will work with institutions of higher education to conduct a controlled research study designed to evaluate methodologies and technologies for the detection of cannabis-impaired driving. After completion of the research study, DOH may create and implement rules and regulations to approve and certify a test for the presence of cannabis in drivers.

The legislation includes additional funding for drug recognition experts and law enforcement to ensure safe roadways.

The use of cannabis by drivers will remain prohibited and will carry the same penalties as it does currently.

Personal Possession and Home Cultivation
The following conditions apply to growing cannabis at home and personal possession of cannabis outside the home:

  • Personal possession outside of the home: up to 3 ounces cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate
  • Home possession: amends limits of what is permitted in the home, which must be kept in a secure location away from children
  • Home grow: permitted under the bill subject to possession limits in 18 months after first adult-use sales begin for adult recreational use and subject to regulations of the Medical Program being promulgated no sooner than 6 months:
    • 3 mature plants and 3 immature plants for adults over 21
      • 6 mature plants and 6 immature plants maximum per household

Criminal Justice and Record Expungement
The cannabis penalty framework will be restructured to avoid the criminalization seen in prohibition. Reduced penalties will be implemented for possession and sale.

  • Creates automatic expungement or resentencing for anyone with a previous marijuana conviction that would now be legal under the law and provides necessary funding
  • Adds cannabis to the clean indoor air act which establishes a baseline on where cannabis can be smoked or vaped
  • Municipalities and local governments are permitted to make laws that are more restrictive than the CIAA. Contains various provisions to ensure that cannabis is treated as a lawful substance and to prevent discriminatory enforcement

Protections for the Use of Cannabis and Workplace Safety
Unlawful discrimination will be prohibited and workplace safety protections will be implemented.

Public Health and Education Campaign
OCM will establish a robust public health and education campaign and work with neighboring states and associations to coordinate actions and policies to protect regional health and safety.

This legislation builds on years of work to understand and decriminalize cannabis for adult use. In 2018, the Department of Health, under Governor Cuomo’s direction, conducted a multi-agency study, which concluded that the positive impacts of legalizing adult-use cannabis far outweighed the negatives. It also found that decades of cannabis prohibition have failed to achieve public health and safety goals and have led to unjust arrests and convictions particularly in communities of color.

In 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to decriminalize the penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana. The legislation also put forth a process to expunge records for certain marijuana convictions. Later that year, the Governor spearheaded a multi-state summit to discuss paths towards legalization of adult-use cannabis that would ensure public health and safety and coordinate programs regionally to minimize the cross-border movement of cannabis products.

Curved Papers & Empire State NORML Kick Off ‘Do The Right Thing, New York’ PSA Campaign

NEW YORK: This week Curved Papers and the New York State Chapters of NORML kicked off Do The Right Thing, New York, a PSA marketing campaign designed to raise awareness and support  for The Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA), one of two competing bills to legalize adult use in what will be the sixteenth or seventeenth state to do so.

As part of the campaign, Curved Papers produced a 7-page primer called “Seven Points About Legalization In New York State 2021,” which explains with pictures, why the MRTA is vastly preferable for cannabis community members, the consumer, the industry and the general public.

“Not only does the MRTA better address core issues of concern to the citizenry across New York State, equity, justice, home grow and sustainability,” Michael O’Malley, Curved Papers Founder told MJNews, “the CRTA is actually a poor solution, and moves all these issues in the wrong direction, or perpetuates problems the MRTA solves.”

Curved Papers is a licensee of NORML, and supports NORML with a royalty on its NORML Curved Papers, made from 100% organic hemp.

Curved Papers was granted the first Corporate Social Responsibility Award at the first NYC NORML Awards in 2019 and takes that honor seriously. A New York company founded by a guy from Brooklyn, the time is now for our home state.

Curved Papers and MJBA share the concept of “cannafest destiny,” the green wave of legalization moving from the West to the East which is finally really crashing on our New York shores. Time to do the right thing, New York!

If you’re a New Yorker, please use this convenient tool to reach out to your representatives in the Senate and the Assembly, and to the Governor, and let them know you support equity, justice, home grow and sustainability. Pass the MRTA now!

DTRTNY will be sharing this link during live online events for the next four Mondays! This Monday join a WATCH PARTY ACTION, featuring “Grass Is Greener,” the seminal film by Fab Five Freddie, a New Yorker if there ever was one.

Governor Cuomo Announces 30-Day Amendments to Legislation Establishing Comprehensive Adult-Use Cannabis Program in New York

NEW YORK:  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced 30-day amendments to the Governor’s proposal to establish a comprehensive adult-use cannabis program in New York. Specifically, these amendments will detail how the $100 Million in Social Equity funding will be allocated, enable the use of delivery services, and refine which criminal charges will be enforced as it relates to the improper sale of cannabis to further reduce the impact on communities hit hardest by the war on drugs.

“As we work to reimagine, rebuild and reopen New York, we’re taking every opportunity to address and correct decades of institutional wrongs to build back better than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said. “We know that you cannot overcome a problem without first admitting there is one. Our comprehensive approach to legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provides the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also enables us to directly support the communities most impacted by the war on drugs by creating equity and jobs at every level, in every community in our great state.”

Allocation of $100 Million Cannabis Social Equity Fund

Social and economic equity are the bedrock of Governor Cuomo’s proposal to legalize cannabis for adult-use and as part of that, the Governor’s proposal includes a $100 million dollar fund to help revitalize communities that have been most harmed by the war on drugs.

Through this fund, qualified community-based nonprofit organizations and local governments would apply for funding to support a number of different community revitalization efforts, including, but not limited to:

  • Job placement and skills services,
  • Adult education,
  • Mental health treatment,
  • Substance use disorder treatment,
  • Housing,
  • Financial literacy,
  • Community banking,
  • Nutrition services,
  • Services to address adverse childhood experiences,
  • Afterschool and child care services, system navigation services,
  • Legal services to address barriers to reentry, and
  • Linkages to medical care, women’s health services and other community-based supportive services

The grants from this program may also be used to further support the social and economic equity program.

Under the amended proposal, the Department of State would allocate the funding, through grants administered by Empire State Development Corporation, in collaboration with the departments of Labor and Health, as well as with the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, and the offices of Addiction Services and Supports and Children and Family Services. Final allocations and administration of funding would also be contingent upon approval from the Division of the Budget.

Enabling the Use of Delivery Services

The legalization of cannabis is expected to play an important role in helping rebuild New York’s economy following the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, legalization is projected to create more than 60,000 new jobs, and spur $3.5 billion in economic activity while generating an estimated $350 million in tax revenue once fully implemented.

Cannabis legalization also has the potential to have a significant economic benefit on distressed areas in New York, providing employment opportunities for all levels of the workforce. As social and economic equity are the bedrock of Governor Cuomo’s proposal, delivery services offer a low-cost entry point into the industry, particularly in communities which have been especially impacted by the war on drugs.

Recognizing this, the Governor is amending his proposal to allow for the permitting of delivery services as a way to open up access to this new industry even further so more New Yorkers can participate as it grows. As part of this, local governments would have the opportunity to opt out from delivery services occurring within their jurisdiction.

Criminality of Improper Sales

When establishing a new product market as the Governor’s proposal does, there will inevitably be attempts by bad actors to skirt rules and commit fraud for their own financial gain. This makes it critically important to ensure that penalties are carefully calibrated to ensure that all those who wish to participate in this new market, are operating on the same level playing field.

Cannabis, however, adds another complicating factor to this dynamic – years of outdated policies stemming from the War on Drugs have disproportionately impacted communities of color. Already, New York has taken steps to decriminalize cannabis and as this new market is realized, and it’s critical that criminal penalties are thoughtfully assigned, as to ensure that the progress which has already been made, is not inadvertently reversed.

As such, under the Governor’s amended proposal, specific penalties will be reduced as follows:

  • Criminal sale in the third degree (sale to under 21 year old) will be made a class A misdemeanor
  • Criminal sale in the second degree (sale of over 16 ounces or 80 grams of concentrate) will be made a class E felony
  • Criminal sale in the first degree (sale of over 64 ounces or 320 grams of concentrate) will be made a class D felony

The Governor’s proposal builds on years of work to understand and decriminalize cannabis for adult use. In 2018, the Department of Health, under Governor Cuomo’s direction, conducted a multi-agency study which concluded that the positive impacts of legalizing adult-use cannabis far outweighed the negatives. It also found that decades of cannabis prohibition have failed to achieve public health and safety goals and have led to unjust arrests and convictions particularly in communities of color.

In 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to decriminalize the penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana. The legislation also put forth a process to expunge records for certain marijuana convictions. Later that year, the Governor spearheaded a multi-state summit to discuss paths towards legalization of adult-use cannabis that would ensure public health and safety and coordinate programs regionally to minimize the cross-border movement of cannabis products.

Building on that important work, the Governor’s proposal reflects national standards and emerging best practices to promote responsible use, limiting the sale of cannabis products to adults 21 and over and establishing stringent quality and safety controls including strict regulation of the packaging, labeling, advertising, and testing of all cannabis products. Cannabis regulation also offers the opportunity to invest in research and direct resources to communities that have been most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

NY Governor Cuomo Announces Proposal To Legalize And Create An Equitable Adult-Use Cannabis Program As Part Of The 2021 State Of The State

Proposal to Create the new Office of Cannabis Management to Regulate State Medical and Adult-use Cannabis and Cannabinoid Hemp Programs

Equitable Market Structure to Invest in Individuals and Communities Disproportionately Impacted by Prohibition

NEW YORK: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a proposal to legalize and create a comprehensive system to oversee and regulate cannabis in New York as part of the 2021 State of the State. Under the Governor’s proposal, a new Office of Cannabis Management would be created to oversee the new adult-use program, as well as the State’s existing medical and cannabinoid hemp programs. Additionally, an equitable structure for the adult-use market will be created by offering licensing opportunities and assistance to entrepreneurs in communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. Once fully implemented, legalization is expected to generate more than $300 million in tax revenue.

“Not only will legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provide the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also allows us to directly support the individuals and communities that have been most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition.”

“Despite the many challenges New York has faced amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has also created a number of opportunities to correct longstanding wrongs and build New York back better than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said. “Not only will legalizing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market provide the opportunity to generate much-needed revenue, but it also allows us to directly support the individuals and communities that have been most harmed by decades of cannabis prohibition.”

The Governor’s proposal builds on years of work to understand and decriminalize cannabis for adult use. In 2018, the Department of Health, under Governor Cuomo’s direction, conducted a multi-agency study which concluded that the positive impacts of legalizing adult-use cannabis far outweighed the negatives. It also found that decades of cannabis prohibition have failed to achieve public health and safety goals and have led to unjust arrests and convictions particularly in communities of color.

In 2019, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to decriminalize the penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana. The legislation also put forth a process to expunge records for certain marijuana convictions. Later that year, the Governor spearheaded a multi-state summit to discuss paths towards legalization of adult-use cannabis that would ensure public health and safety and coordinate programs regionally to minimize the cross-border movement of cannabis products.

Building on that important work, the proposal reflects national standards and emerging best practices to promote responsible use, limiting the sale of cannabis products to adults 21 and over and establishing stringent quality and safety controls including strict regulation of the packaging, labeling, advertising, and testing of all cannabis products. Cannabis regulation also offers the opportunity to invest in research and direct resources to communities that have been most impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Governor Cuomo Announces Proposed Regulations For Cannabinoid Hemp Products

Department of Health’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program Will License Processors and Retailers and Set Quality Control Standards

NEW YORK:  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Department of Health has filed proposed regulations to regulate cannabinoid hemp products in New York State. In accordance with legislation signed earlier this year by the Governor, the Department is creating a Cannabinoid Hemp Program. The Program will license both cannabinoid hemp processors and retailers and set quality control standards that all cannabinoid hemp products must meet.

“These regulations are the next step toward regulating the growing hemp industry in New York in a way that protects consumers and helps ensure the industry’s long-term viability,” said Governor Cuomo. “Establishing the State’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program to regulate production and sale of hemp and hemp extract will help protect both consumers and farmers.”

The Cannabinoid Hemp Program will organize and legitimize the cannabinoid market in New York State by creating a licensing framework for cannabinoid hemp processors and retailers, and by establishing basic manufacturing, packaging and labeling and laboratory testing standards. Currently, applications for cannabinoid hemp processing and retailing licenses are under development, and NYSDOH intends to make them available in early 2021.

In 2015, the Governor launched the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program, supporting farmers and further boosting economic development in upstate New York. Since then, New York’s hemp program has expanded significantly, making New York one of the leading hemp producing states in the country, with more than 700 farmers and 100 manufacturers of hemp products. Hemp is a sustainable, carbon-sequestering crop that is capable of being transformed into hundreds of products including textiles, furniture, fuel, food, construction materials and personal care items.

Some hemp products that have been growing in popularity include cannabinoid hemp products such as Cannabidiol, or CBD, which can be found online or in retail stores throughout the state. While regulations exist at the federal level for the growth of hemp, there are currently no federal regulations for the processing and manufacturing of cannabinoid hemp products, resulting in the cannabinoid hemp marketplace lacking basic consumer protections that are common in similar industries. There are published reports of cannabinoid hemp products that do not contain any cannabinoids but contain unspecified or inconsistent levels of THC – the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant – or are contaminated with harmful toxins.

The proposed regulations fill this regulatory void and create a system allowing for the use of hemp-derived cannabinoids in certain foods, beverages, topicalsand dietary supplement products, provided regulatory requirements are satisfied. All cannabinoid hemp products must be manufactured using good manufacturing practices based on the end product’s intended use. The label must contain the total amount of cannabinoids in the product, number of cannabinoids per serving, a nutritional or supplement fact panel, information about whether the product contains THC and appropriate warnings stating the product is not intended for children, its use may cause the failure of a drug test, the product has not been evaluated by the FDA and if pregnant or nursing, to consult a healthcare provider before use.

Additionally, cannabinoid hemp products are required to be laboratory-tested before entering the market, with testing for their cannabinoid profile, heavy metals, microbial impurities, mycotoxins, pesticides and residual solvents. This information is required to be retrievable by the consumer in the form of a QR code or corresponding link on the product label. Retailers are prohibited from selling inhalable cannabinoid hemp products, such as vape products, to consumers under 21 years of age. Processors are prohibited from making claims suggesting the product will diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease.

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “When you purchase a product, you should have confidence that what is stated on the label is actually in the product. With the increased production and use of cannabinoid hemp products, New York State could not wait for the federal government to act to institute basic consumer protections to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers.”

Senator Jen Metzger said, “These regulations will provide much-awaited certainty for the hemp industry and offer a tremendous opportunity for our farmers while ensuring that we have the standards consumers need for a safe and high-quality product. As the Senate sponsor of the bill that created the regulatory framework for hemp, I want to thank the Governor for his continued leadership to advance the hemp industry and move the regulatory process forward, and I urge New York farmers and all stakeholders to review the regulations and provide input during the 60-day comment period.”

Assembly Member Donna Lupardo said, “With these regulations, New York is creating a national model for consumer safety, requiring strict labeling and production standards. The inclusion of cannabinoid extracts in food and beverages will provide new economic opportunities for farmers, processors, manufacturers, and retailers throughout the state. I appreciate the Governor’s continued commitment to New York’s hemp industry and look forward to working with his administration as these regulations are finalized through the public comment period.”

For more information on New York’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program and to view the proposed regulations, please visit: https://health.ny.gov/regulations/hemp/.

Governor Cuomo Announces He Will Visit States That Have Legalized Cannabis Programs to Help Inform His Efforts to Pass Legislation as Part of Budget

Builds on Regional Cannabis Regulation and Vaping Initiatives Previously Announced With Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts

Governor Cuomo: “I’m going to visit Massachusetts, Illinois and California or Colorado, which are three states that have legalized it and have different versions, and bring my team to meet with them, discuss what they’ve done, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked.”

Screenshot 2020-02-25 09.14.01NEW YORK: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he will visit states that have legalized cannabis programs to learn more about their programs to help inform his efforts to pass similar legislation in the state budget this year. This builds on the regional cannabis regulation and vaping initiatives previously announced with Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts to establish a set of core principles on issues related to market regulation and empowerment; public health; public safety and enforcement; and vaping best practices.

VIDEO of the Governor’s announcement is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks are available below:

Governor Cuomo: One other point on marijuana, which is another issue that is in this budget. I said yesterday it is a major priority. I also want to make sure that it is done correctly, and you look at states that have legalized marijuana, many of them have generated more questions. One of those issues that everybody has goals, we want a goal of social equity, we want to make sure young people can’t get it, et cetera. We want to make sure there are advantages to communities that have been oppressed. But, then you look at the aftermath and many of those goals haven’t been met, right?

So, I’m going to visit Massachusetts, Illinois and California or Colorado, which are three states that have legalized it and have different versions, and bring my team to meet with them, discuss what they’ve done, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked. Has the social equity piece worked? Has the law enforcement piece worked? So that we have the best bill and the best system when we pass it, and I want to pass it by April 1. […]

The conclusion is we want to coordinate our laws the best we can. In other words, you don’t want New York competing with New Jersey, you don’t want New York competing with Connecticut. You don’t want people driving to New Jersey, because they can get more in New Jersey, or a higher percentage in New Jersey, or they have a different age in New Jersey, or a lower tax rate. So, it’s regional coordination. But then if you look at what has happened in states that have done it, about 11 states have legalized marijuana. Everybody talks about the goals, we want a social equity component, we want to make sure it’s policed. They have all these goals, but many of the programs once they’ve been implemented and they went back and looked, they didn’t meet those goals.

You know, our political debate now is all about “I have a plan.” Yeah, everybody has a plan, but can you actually get it done and does it turn out the way you planned it, right? That’s the big question, and that’s where government usually gets into trouble. So, I want to make sure we learn from them. We have the regional coordination piece. We are the first state that has really been looking through that lens. I now literally want to go to California, Illinois, Massachusetts, sit with them, what was your plan, how did it work out, what did you learn, what can we incorporate.

Cresco Labs Announces Closing Of Acquisition In New York State

Acquisition Adds One of Only 10 Vertically Integrated Cannabis Business Licenses Issued by the State of New York

ILLINOIS: Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operators in the United States, today announced that it has closed its acquisition of 100% of the membership interests of Gloucester Street Capital, the parent entity of Valley Agriceuticals, via a merger between Gloucester and a subsidiary of Cresco Labs. As a result of this acquisition, Cresco Labs now holds one of the 10 vertically integrated cannabis business licenses granted in the State of New York by the New York State Department of Health. Each license gives the operator the right to operate one cultivation facility and four dispensaries in New York. The New York market is projected to grow to $500 million by 20221.

“New York is one of the most influential consumer markets in the world and we expect the state to act as a cornerstone in Cresco Labs’ plan to continue building the most strategic and valuable geographic footprint in the U.S. cannabis industry,” said Charles Bachtell, CEO and Co-founder of Cresco Labs. “Since recently receiving regulatory approval for this transaction, Valley Ag has opened two new dispensaries in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Huntington, Long Island. As a result, Cresco Labs enters the New York market with four strategically located dispensaries. These assets position us well to immediately generate meaningful revenue from this market. As we fully implement the world-class branding, marketing and distribution expertise that has helped us to develop leading positions in some of the most attractive cannabis markets in the country, we expect to steadily increase our share of a market that is projected to grow to $500 million by 2022.”

“Cresco Labs has an incredible vision for the future of the cannabis industry, and they were the obvious choice to partner with based on their superior management team, focus on compliance and experience working across hyper-regulated industries,” said Gloucester Street Capital CEO Stephen Ashekian. “I believe their strategic decision making, commitment to social equity and priority for putting the patients first will make them a leader in the New York market.”

In addition to the new dispensaries in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Huntington, Long Island, Cresco Labs also has operating dispensaries in Bardonia and New Hartford.

Currently a medical-use only market, New York has approximately 107,000 certified patients and 2,500 registered practitioners. The State’s medical cannabis program has 15 qualifying conditions including chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and opioid replacement.