New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) approved new regulations for the state’s medical cannabis program. The regulations are now subject to a 60-day public comment period before they can be implemented. The new regulations are in line with New York’s recently passed recreational cannabis law – the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA) – and formally shift oversight of the medical program from the state Department of Health to the OCM.
Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright indicated that the new regulations aim to “reduce environmental waste, further protect [New York] youth, and provide flexibility and efficiencies to the program”. According to a press release from the OCM the new regulations:
- Allow registered organizations to accept packaging for reuse and modifying packaging and labeling requirements to support it, reducing waste created by the industry;
- Add further prohibitions to packaging and labeling that advertise to youth;
- Remove restrictions on naming conventions for products, paving the way for products to include names of various cannabis strains;
- Allow flexibility for pharmacists to provide their services remotely while maintaining a minimum pharmacist staffing requirement for each dispensary to ensure patients have access to medication guidance from a health care professional;
- Replace the overburdensome requirement that Registered Organizations maintain continuous video surveillance for 24 hours a day to allow for motion-activated recording after business hours; and
- Allow OCM to modify product testing requirements as necessary rather than through regulation, providing critical flexibility to protect public health.
Interestingly, the regulations also add new application requirements, which are aligned with the stated social equity goals of the MRTA. To be clear, there has been no formal announcement that more registered organization licenses will be issued, but more licenses would certainly be in line with the OCM’s stated goal of expanding and diversifying the medical program and getting more product to market.
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