Cannabinoid hemp business to face new, stricter tips

ALBANY – The Office of Cannabis Management passed regulations on Wednesday to set stricter standards for the exploding hemp market in New York, according to which all hemp-derived cannabinoid products – such as the popular CBD oils and ointments – must comply with the state manufacturing, Must comply with laboratory, packaging and labeling guidelines.

Some of the new regulations, including those on packaging and laboratory testing, will come into effect in six months to give processors and retailers time to align their operations.

New York has 25 fully licensed cannabinoid hemp processors, and the Office of Cannabis Management has approved an additional 71 preliminary licenses for processors. They have also tentatively approved 403 permits for the wholesale distribution of foreign products and 2,384 for retailers.

An OCM spokesman said there is no cap on the number of cannabinoid hemp licenses they will approve and the agency will finalize preliminary approvals in the coming weeks.

Jen Metzger, a member of the Cannabis Control Board who unveiled the latest program updates at the board’s third public meeting on Wednesday, stated that the first package of proposed regulatory changes was presented in October 2020.

Metzger, a former state senator, backed the bill that resulted in the package, which was passed by lawmakers in 2019. She said the rules, passed on Wednesday, were last updated in May 2021 to reflect the provisions of this year’s marijuana ordinance and tax law, including whole flower sales.

Allan Gandelman, president of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association and one of the state’s 25 fully licensed cannabinoid hemp processors, said the stricter rules should help New York’s indigenous cannabinoid hemp industry. He said the state’s current processors have been operating to higher standards since 2019, putting them at a disadvantage alongside overseas products that have been sold in the state’s retail stores for years without having to comply.

“We knew okay, the law passed, these are the high standards, so let’s go by the high standards,” said Gandelman. “At the time, they told us that they would come into effect in early 2020. They just kicked us in the can over and over again. “

OCM Executive Director Christopher Alexander confirmed to board members that the agency had made few changes to the well-drafted rules.

“One of the biggest changes in the documents was to make sure they were consistent with the fact that this is no longer a program regulated by the (state health ministry),” Alexander said, adding that the other change was to postpone the date Some compliance requirements come into effect by April.

However, a long list of potential future updates to the program presented at the meeting on Wednesday includes that product labels must state the source of the hemp, the requirement that cannabinoid hemp products must be shelf stable will be lifted, and cannabis will be “crafted” is defined.

Hemp is a low-THC variety of the cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoid hemp products are just one of its possible uses and the only category regulated by the Office of Cannabis Management. Hemp growth and the production of other raw materials – including building materials, textiles, and even hemp seed foods that have not been processed to contain cannabinoids – are regulated by the state and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

While the licenses for the cannabinoid hemp industry are now being rolled out and will include the manufacture and distribution of products made from cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% of the psychoactive component THC, those hoping to join the parallel adult cannabis program are waiting, still on the guidance of the newly established OCM.

In some cases, eager vendors have tried to fill the gap in the market by selling products that contain delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol. This new fad is a psychoactive component with some similarities to the more popular THC, short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the naturally occurring component of marijuana that gets someone high. The newer ingredient, called “Delta-8” for short, can be synthesized in a laboratory from hemp-derived CBD.

“Delta-8 products are currently not allowed in this program,” said Alexander. “They are currently banned because of their psychoactive properties. And we will discuss regulation for them under the adult use program. “

According to his board presentation, the OCM is also now preparing its first broader public health and safety campaign that will address age limits, restricted driving, safe storage and federal bans.