New York lawmakers ease medical cannabis rules as consumers await launch of adult-use market

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

On March 31, 2021, the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) was enacted into law. Now, here we are approaching the end of October and New York’s adult-use cannabis market is preparing for full lift-off. 

Despite the fact that the MRTA was adopted seven months ago, lawmakers are still busy hashing out plans to fully establish the legal market. Based on the latest news, New York’s adult-use cannabis market will launch towards the end of next year or, at the very latest, early 2023.

The 11 categories of license holders have already been made aware of how revenue will be allocated among each group. However, other specifications for New York’s adult-use cannabis industry were not outlined in the MRTA.

Fortunately, now that the five-member strong Cannabis Control Board (CCB) has been appointed, more clarity is anticipated very soon. The looming regulations, of which will be released by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), are expected to emerge imminently. 

About the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) 

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the MRTA on March 31, 2021. His signature effectively legalized adult-use cannabis across New York State. The MRTA is comparable in certain respects to adult-use cannabis laws in other states. However, certain facets of the law appear to be much more detailed than those adopted by sister states with recreational cannabis markets.

Under the terms of the legislative framework, a new OCM will be governed by a CCB Control Board to integrate the law and provide oversight for all things related to the adult-use cannabis industry. The OCM will be tasked with distributing licenses and establishing a firm set of regulations clarifying how and when businesses can get involved in the nascent market.

In simple terms, the basis of New York’s adult-use cannabis industry has already been set. Any outstanding details will be finalized by the CCB and OCM.

New York regulators loosen medical cannabis rules to permit smokable flower sales

Something else that’s happening in New York’s cannabis industry right now is the expansion of sales for the state’s medical market. During its first ever meeting, New York’s cannabis regulatory agency revised rules for the state’s medical cannabis program.

One of the rule amendments focuses on broadening the sale of medicinal-grade flower, while another hones in on the subject of who can recommend medical cannabis as a treatment.

The rule changes, which were introduced by the newly-formed CCB, will grant a broad spectrum of medical professionals the opportunity to recommend medical cannabis to patients; such as dentists and midwives. The $50 registration fee for caregivers and patients will also be eliminated as part of the rule change.

Currently, New York’s medical cannabis program allows 150,000 people to obtain the plant in its pharmaceutical form. The latest rule changes are sure to reflect on the state’s economy, not to mention boost patient satisfaction rates.