[co-author: Hanna Barker Mullin]
Cannabis: In Focus
- New York State Regulators Approve Final Adult-Use Regulations as Judge Bars New York State From Issuing New Cannabis Licenses
- California Attorney General Partners With Cities To Address Illicit Cannabis Businesses
- USDA Hemp Industry Updates
New York State Regulators Approve Final Adult-Use Regulations as Judge Bars New York State From Issuing New Cannabis Licenses
On September 12, state regulators approved final adult-use regulations and set October 4 as the opening date for cannabis retail license applications. Currently, retail licenses are only available to applicants under the state’s Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) program, which is the target of multiple lawsuits.
As of this writing, there are only 23 legal cannabis businesses operating in the state while approximately 400 potential CAURD licensees await final approval amidst simmering conflicts over the program’s rollout. One such dispute involves a dispute over the state’s social equity applications (as we have previously covered here and here), and whether the CAURD program’s licensure awards followed state law as to (1) “justice-involved” applicants, such as those with prior cannabis convictions, and (2) other social equity applicants, such as disabled military veterans. In the new order, Judge Kevin Bryant reversed a prior ruling that had allowed 30 retail cannabis dispensary applicants to advance.
California Attorney General Partners With Cities To Address Illicit Cannabis Businesses
On August 29, the California Department of Justice (CDOJ) announced a new program to combat illegal cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and retail sales. The Cannabis Administrative Prosecutor Program (CAPP) aims to increase the ability of local jurisdictions to crack down on illicit marijuana activity by allowing cities to use state investigative and administrative resources to treat illegal cannabis activity as a public nuisance and land-use issue.
By permitting local jurisdictions to implement administrative enforcement, such as issuing citations and ordering illegal operations to cease, the program aims to shut down illegal operations efficiently and effectively.
We have previously covered similar efforts in New York here, here, and here.
USDA Hemp Industry Updates
In August 2023, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced appointments of two hemp officials to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Trade in Tobacco, Cotton, Peanuts and Hemp—one of six ATACs that advise the government about agricultural products and commodities—in a move that doubles hemp industry representation on the panel.
In July 2023, the USDA released a new version of the Hemp Descriptor and Phenotyping Handbook with the goal of providing hemp growers, scientists, and breeders with more details and information that will support hemp diversity and conservation. The agency is also working on creating a government hemp seed bank for the hemp that was previously destroyed during the prohibition of hemp.