New York regulators are now officially accepting applications for marijuana businesses interested in organizing cannabis farmers markets in the state.
Just two days after the Cannabis Control Board voted to authorize what they’re calling Cannabis Growers Showcases (CGS), regulators opened the applications and posted guidance and templates for municipal approval for the events.
“A CGS can take place in various locations, including standalone, temporary retail locations; licensed retail dispensary locations; licensed conditional cultivator or processor locations; or other approved event locations,” the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).
Under the current rules, the marijuana farmers markets will take place up until January 1, 2024 as the state works to get more traditional retailers open. Applications are being accepted through December 1, 2023.
To receive approval for the CGS, applicants must demonstrate that they have at least three licensed adult-use cannabis cultivators and one conditional retail licensee. For every three additional cultivators, another provisional vendor must be included at the event.
At least initially, on-site consumption will be prohibited because permitting people to use marijuana at the markets would require additional permitting from the state Department of Public Health. Also, organizers will have to ensure that alcohol isn’t also sold at the events.
Farmers could seek municipal approval and hold the farmers markets on their own property. Or they could seek to join other events like concerts, fairs and festivals that are being separately organized.
OCM released templates of approval letters for municipalities and associated events along with the applications on Friday. It also provided inventory lists, attestation letters for CGS licensees and sample diagrams showing how events can be physically laid out.
A frequently asked questions document addresses issues such as the kinds of products that are allowed to be sold, packaging, testing, inventory tracking, taxes and age verification.
I thank the Governor and OCM for working with us to get CGS applications out and find further solutions to expedite roll-out, which I hope will include signing my bill with @DonnaLupardo, the Cannabis Crop Rescue Act. (2/2)
— Senator Michelle Hinchey (@SenatorHinchey) July 21, 2023
Meanwhile, the board also approved an additional 212 provisional retailer licenses this week—the largest single batch of approvals to date. This brings the states total to 463 licensees that are gearing up to serve the adult market. It’s expected to take six months to a year for the shops to open.
There are currently only 20 adult-use retailers operating in the state amid what many observers see as a troubled rollout that has seen delays in financing and opening storefronts that are supposed to be provided to equity retailers by the state.
Separately, New York City officials announced on Tuesday that they’re seeking lenders to support a marijuana equity fund that will promote participation in the industry by people who’ve been disproportionately impacted by criminalization.
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Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) administration is also stepping up its push to transition people to the legal market, despite the bottlenecking of getting approved retailer licensees launched so far.
That included launching a public education campaign in April encouraging adults to buy their marijuana from licensed shops to ensure that products are safe and that revenue is used to advance equity and reinvestment goals.
The New York Senate has also formed a committee focused exclusively on marijuana that will be collaborating with regulators as the state’s cannabis market evolves.
Officials did announce in March that they are doubling the number of conditional adult-use marijuana licenses that can be approved, from 150 to 300, after receiving feedback from certain applicants that they would be able to more expeditiously open storefronts without additional support through a state program designed to help eligible entities create physical locations.
The governor also recently introduced legislation to increase enforcement authority to crack down on illicit marijuana retailers as the state struggles to stand up the regulated adult-use market.
In December, Hochul separately unveiled a marijuana business and product verification tool, with plans to post a QR code on licensed cannabis retailers and a universal symbol label for authorized cannabis products.
She also signed a bill in late November aimed at expanding the state’s hemp market by promoting collaborative partnerships to identify more opportunities to utilize the crop and its derivatives for packaging, construction and other purposes.
The New York Senate also approved a bill last month that would provide tax relief to New York City marijuana businesses that are currently blocked from making federal deductions under an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code known as 280E.
While Hochul signed a budget bill last year that included provisions allow state-level cannabis business tax deductions—a partial remedy to the ongoing federal issue—New York City has its own tax laws that weren’t affected by that change.
Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.
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