New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) Executive Director Chris Alexander expects the state to release its proposed cannabis industry regulations in May, which would open the window for the state to begin accepting licenses in October, November, or December, according to a Mondaq report. Alexander’s comment came during a webinar last week during which Alexander said the agency would allow a five-to-six-month window, including a 60-day public comment period, in order for stakeholders to assess the regulations and allow for changes by regulators.
Alexander also explained the decision by regulators to recently send cease-and-desist letters to more than two dozen businesses accused of illegally ‘gifting’ cannabis – or giving cannabis to patrons as part of the purchase of another, usually overpriced item. He said the agency has “been aware for some time” of the practice and that “even though the police aren’t coming to knock down your door, this activity is still not legal.”
“And for us as the regulating body, it’s concerning that we’ve taken this step and still in the law said, ‘Don’t do this thing or wait for a license’ and folks are still taking that step.” – Alexander via Mondaq
He added that the agency is not interested in cracking down on ‘legacy operators’ – those that have been “operating on the fringes” prior to the passage of the adult-use law.
“Those operations continue,” he said during his remarks. “We have not ‘cracked down’ on those operations. It’s the acknowledgment that there are operators in the space, in communities et cetera, who have used cannabis to support their families and all that stuff. That’s part of the broader strategy.”
“We’re starting with education and we hope that people heed our warnings and if they don’t, we have to take additional steps. But hopefully, the message has been made clear: legacy folks still understand that there’s a space for them to participate in this market,” he said. “We’re learning, we’re trying to figure out the best ways to do so, that work is not done. But we do want them to know that they’re welcome and that needs to be a part of the conversation.”
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