On Monday, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker told reporters that a study commissioned in January by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will recommend legalizing adult-use cannabis, the New York Timesreports. The study, though not finalized, was informed by “experts from all across the government.” The report is expected to be fully released soon, though it has been teased for weeks by the governor’s office.
Until recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been against the legalization of cannabis. Competitors in the gubernatorial election have seized on this policy to attempt to leverage voters against the Governor, though the cannabis issue is largely supported by voters. The Governor’s office on Monday did not offer much comment beyond that they would review the report when it was released.
“We looked at the pros, we looked at the cons, and when we were done, we realized that the pros outweighed the cons. We have new facts.”— Dr. Howard Zucker, in the report
Gov. Cuomo’s opponent for the Democratic primaries, Cynthia Nixon, has used cannabis legalization as a cornerstone of her campaign platform. Nixon claims that New York must go further than just legalizing and must also expunge the records of previous cannabis offenders — especially for minorities, who have been disproportionately charged affected by prohibition.
This report is only the first step on New York‘s road to legalization. The legislative session is ending for the year on Wednesday and state lawmakers are unlikely to act fast enough to advance the legalization issue, so it will have to be taken up next year at the earliest.
Lawmakers in Canada’s House of Commons voted 205-82 in favor of Bill C-45, aka The Cannabis Act, on Monday, CBCreports. The legalization bill now returns to the Senate, which has already approved an earlier version of the bill but now must try to reconcile with changes made in the House.
Last time the Senate worked on the bill, Conservative lawmakers insisted on several amendments restricting the scope of the reforms. However, the House rejected many of the Senate’s amendments, including one that would have allowed provinces to individually ban cannabis home grows and another that would have severely limited advertising options for cannabis companies. In total, 13 of the Senate’s proposed changes were rejected.
Senators must now decide whether to accept the House’s changes or not.
Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, who heads the Independent Senators Group, said that Conservative Senators had offered some thoughtful changes.
“The job of senators is to listen to signals as well. It’s not just to propose amendments willy-nilly with no sense of where the government position is. The Senate does not regularly insist and create a ping-pong between the House and the Upper Chamber. It’s only happened a few times in our history and on very, very consequential bills. I don’t know if this one qualifies … but if senators decide that the explanations are not sufficient and we get to it, then we are in that world again.” — Sen. Yuen Pau Woo, in a radio interview
If Senators accept the House’s version of the bill this week, officials expect cannabis to be available across Canada for individuals who are 19 or older by September — though it will ultimately fall to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet to choose the actual launch date.
When California was getting ready to legalize adult-use and medically commercial cannabis sales on January 1, 2018, we all knew it would be a bumpy ride. Going from the collective, cooperative, and non-profit models that governed marijuana operators (and I use the term “governed” loosely) prior to 2018, to a robust regulatory regime that was going to keep the federal government on the sidelines (hopefully) and better serve the public and the environment was never going to be easy.
When the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) was enacted in June of 2017, it merged the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA) and the Adult-Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) into one regulatory regime. Under MAUCRSA there are three state agencies responsible for regulating and licensing cannabis operators: 1) The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), regulates cultivators, processors, and nurseries; 2) The California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch regulates cannabis manufacturers; and 3) The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) regulates distributors, retailers, delivery-only retailers, microbusinesses, temporary cannabis events, and laboratories.
In November of last year, all three agencies released their emergency regulations and licensing requirements (which we covered here and here). Upon gathering input from the public and cannabis businesses, all three state agencies made changes to their emergency regulations and readopted them last month.
In both the initial and readopted regulations, cannabis businesses were provided with a transition period that allowed for exceptions from certain regulatory provisions. The goal of the transition period was to grant cannabis businesses with a period of less stringent regulations so that they could sell cannabis products that were already in their inventory. The cost of compliance is a steep one and the transition period was an attempt to soften the blow. The readopted regulations made a number of changes (which we covered here) but what they didn’t change is the transition period’s termination date. The transition period ends on June 30, 2018, so starting on July 1 (which is also Canada Day!) the following regulations will apply:
Untested cannabis goods cannot be sold by a retailer and must be destroyed, nor will a retailer will be able to send the untested cannabis goods for testing.
Untested cannabis goods manufactured or harvested before January 1, 2018, in possession of a distributor that are owned bythe distributor will have to be destroyed.
Untested cannabis goods manufactured or harvested before January 1, 2018, in the possession of a distributor owned by a manufacturer or cultivator may be returned to them. The manufacturer or cultivator could then sell the returned cannabis goods after sending them to a distributor and they pass all of the testing requirements.
All packaging and labeling of cannabis goods must be properly performed before being transported to a retailer. This also applies to cannabis goods that were in a retailer’s inventory before July 1. The only exception is that a retailer will be able to affix “FOR MEDICAL USE ONLY” for medicinal sales.
Cannabis goods in a retailer’s possession that do not meet packaging and labeling requirements will have to be destroyed.
All cannabis goods must be in child-resistant packaging, only having exit or secondary packaging be child-resistant shall no longer suffice.
Edible cannabis goods may no longer exceed 10 milligrams of THC per serving and may not exceed 100 milligrams of THC per package.
Non-edible cannabis products shall not contain more than 1,000 milligrams of THC per package in the adult-use market.
Non-edible cannabis products shall not contain more than 2,000 milligrams of THC per package in the medicinal market.
All products sold by a retailer will have to meet the CDPH’s requirements for ingredients and appearance.
In the long-term, the end of the transition period will benefit the public as the cannabis goods consumed will have passed stricter testing requirements. However, come July 1, you can expect to see less inventory on retailers’ shelves as there will inevitably be a number of cannabis goods that cannot pass the stricter testing requirements. Cannabis businesses that have been planning for the expiration of the transition period regulations are going to be the ones with good compliance programs and they’ll be able to take advantage of a less crowded marketplace as less forward-looking operators struggle to adapt.
One major concern for the California cannabis industry is whether there are enough licensed laboratories to meet demand. The BCC has currently issued temporary licenses to approximately twenty-nine (29) laboratories and whether they have the capacity to test all the cannabis products supplied by cultivators and manufacturers will have a direct impact on how fast a retailer can restock their inventory. In the short-term, you can expect to see some steep discounts from retailers as they’re forced to unload all their marijuana products that they’d have to destroy if not sold by July 1. Be ready for longer than normal lines at your favorite cannabis retailer on June 30!
Benefits and Pitfalls of Cannabis Testing A look at the benefits and pitfalls of cannabis testing, and the beneficence and competitiveness of the cannabis supply chain. Whether we are eating Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) potato chips or organic apples from a local orchard, it is understood that humans have a right to know what it […]