Starting next month, New York medical marijuana patients can grow their own.

Officials in New York voted on Tuesday to adopt home grow rules for medical cannabis patients, and to accept another round of conditional applications from marijuana processors and cultivators as the state continues to accept applications from people directly impacted by the drug war for the first adult-use cannabis retailer licenses.

The Cannabis Control Board (CCB) approved a resolution requesting the state legalize medical marijuana patients’ rights to cultivate their own plants. They also approved the new hemp cannabinoid regulations and a limited partnership agreement between the New York State Dormitory Authority (DASNY) and Social Equity Impact Ventures to improve industry equity.

About a year after initial proposals for draft regulations, and several months after the board accepted revised rules following a public comment period, the medical cannabis home grow resolution was adopted. Now that the regulations have been finalized, the CCB has instructed the OCM to formally submit them to the New York State Department of State.

Officials in New York voted on Tuesday to adopt home grow rules for medical cannabis patients, and to accept another round of conditional applications from marijuana processors and cultivators as the state continues to accept applications from people directly impacted by the drug war for the first adult-use cannabis retailer licenses.

The Cannabis Control Board (CCB) approved a resolution requesting the state legalize medical marijuana patients’ rights to cultivate their own plants. They also approved the new hemp cannabinoid regulations and a limited partnership agreement between the New York State Dormitory Authority (DASNY) and Social Equity Impact Ventures to improve industry equity.

About a year after initial proposals for draft regulations, and several months after the board accepted revised rules following a public comment period, the medical cannabis home grow resolution was adopted. Now that the regulations have been finalized, the CCB has instructed the OCM to formally submit them to the New York State Department of State.

Under the new regulations, patients and their caregivers will be able to cultivate a maximum of six plants, of which only three may reach maturity. According to the state’s law that permits the legalization of cannabis for adults, they could legally possess up to five pounds of cannabis harvested from those plants.

On October 5, new regulations for medical marijuana patients and caregivers who grow their own plants at home will go into effect. According to CCB Chair Tremaine Wright, this is “an exciting milestone for our medical cannabis program.”

At the conclusion of the hearing, OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander stated, “We have prioritized patient access in this program, and we will continue to do so.”

Simply put, he was overjoyed that patients now had a less expensive means of obtaining the necessary medication.

A total of 25 licenses to process cannabis were approved by regulators over the past month, 10 of which were approved on Tuesday.

A seeding initiative and related legislation was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hocul (D) in February, and as part of that process, 19 additional cultivator applications from existing hemp businesses were accepted. Today, there are over 250 legal growers.

Until September 26th, however, OCM will continue to accept applications for CAURD licenses, which are required for the operation of dispensaries catering to adults. As early as this year, businesses with accepted licenses that have been disproportionately affected by cannabis criminalization will be among the first to serve recreational consumers.

About a month ago, OCM announced where in the world each of the maximum of 150 CAURD licenses it plans to accept would be located.

New York City’s mayor has just announced the launch of a new program to promote equity in the cannabis industry by providing assistance to business owners who have been negatively affected by the drug war. This comes in anticipation of the opening of the CAURD license applications.

The initial goal of the Cannabis NYC initiative is to assist would-be dispensary operators in completing the licensing application process. However, the program also promises to provide “support beyond the license” by linking “aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs to no-cost services, along with technical assistance, to support successful businesses.”

While OCM’s Alexander assured the public in July that the office had carefully reviewed and responded to public comments on the proposed rules for conditional retailers, some stakeholders remain dissatisfied because they believe the input was not thoughtfully incorporated.

Most New York voters, according to the poll results, are against giving preference in retail licenses to people with criminal records or who have been involved in the criminal justice system.

Separately, OCM has recently made public a large number of cease-and-desist letters it has sent to businesses accused of illegally selling marijuana as the state prepares to launch its adult-use market.

However, there has been doubt cast on the veracity of the office’s enforcement goals. A number of the places listed as running illegal pot shops claim they never got the notice, while others, such as a catering company, say they were unfairly singled out.

At the moment, anyone over the age of 21 can legally possess and use marijuana in public, as well as give it away to other adults as gifts so long as they aren’t getting paid to do so.

The Cannabis Control Board (CCB) also approved a set of proposed rules in June pertaining to the packaging, labeling, advertising, and testing of marijuana.

In the meantime, despite the federal ban on cannabis, New York lawmakers have sent a budget proposal to the governor’s desk that includes provisions to allow marijuana businesses to take state tax deductions that are available to other industries. A law was officially made out of that.

In December, Democratic state senator Jeremy Cooney introduced his own legislation to create a statewide cannabis industry. Democrat Donna Lupardo of the California Assembly did the same thing. Cooney also introduced legislation in May to facilitate cannabis banking that would have required regulators to disclose certain information about cannabis licensees to financial institutions.

Hochul has been very vocal about how much she wants the legalization law to be efficiently implemented.

The governor proposed a public-private fund of $200 million to help promote social equity in the state’s booming marijuana market in his January State of the State book.

The board of directors at DASNY approved the limited partnership agreement with Social Equity Impact Ventures on Tuesday, and those funds will be used to support that agreement.

The governor’s proposed executive budget from January included a similar funding request. More than $1.25 billion in tax revenue is projected for New York over the next six years from marijuana sales, according to the state budget.

Hochul stated that it is crucial to “create opportunities for all New Yorkers, particularly those from historically marginalized communities” in the cannabis industry, despite the fact that business licenses have not been issued since legalization was signed into law last year.

Public service announcements (PSAs) have also been released by OCM to educate the public about the new marijuana policy. The first-ever taxpayer-funded marijuana ad aired across most of New York during an NBA Finals game last month. The public service announcement (PSA) addressed head-on the racial inequalities caused by the prohibition of cannabis and highlighted the efforts of state regulators to rectify this injustice.

While CCB would like to promote its marijuana PSA campaign on the popular social media app TikTok, the company has previously told them they cannot do so due to an existing ban on the use of the word “cannabis” on the app. The agency recently wrote to TikTok, asking them to alter their policy regarding government-sponsored marijuana education advertisements.

As the state prepares to implement retail marijuana sales, here are some other ways that lawmakers and regulators in New York are working to promote drug policy reform:

Hochul announced in July that the state would be giving $5 million to community colleges to help create and improve programs that would help people find work in the legal marijuana industry.

Legislation mandating public health insurance programs to cover medical marijuana expenses was approved by the New York Senate in June. The bill also made clear that private insurers may do so.

A bill promoting the use of hemp in industrial settings, such as packaging, construction, and others, has been approved by both houses of the state legislature.

Employers in New York are prohibited from conducting drug tests on their employees for marijuana, as announced by the state Department of Labor in separate guidance released recently. New York City had already banned cannabis drug testing for prospective employees before legalization was passed.

After a document was leaked from the New York Police Department (NYPD), indicating that officers would no longer be subject to pre-employment, random, or scheduled screening for cannabis due to legal analysis, the NYC Law Department (NYCLD) issued a directive calling for a review of the department’s drug testing policy for police and firefighters.

The firefighters union asserted that the new directive was a direct result of their inquiries to the city government.

While the federal government provides funding to support the NYC Housing Authority, Adams has said he is exploring the idea of authorizing marijuana to be grown in greenhouses on the rooftops of public housing buildings (NYCHA).

In May, a New York senator introduced legislation that would allow for the establishment of licensed community marijuana gardens for those who lack the space or resources to grow their own supply.

Also in that month, a committee in the New York State Assembly moved forward with a bill to create a statewide safe consumption site program, which would allow authorities to approve sites where people could use drugs that are currently illegal under medical supervision.

Also, last year, a lawmaker from New York proposed legislation that would mandate the creation of an institute to study the therapeutic potential of psychedelics in the state.

In December, another lawmaker introduced legislation to allow the cultivation and use of psilocybin mushrooms for medical purposes within the state.

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