As many of you are aware, the State has finally released the proposed regulations for the Hemp Extract Law (S6184A/A7680A). The proposed regulations are currently posted on the Department of Health (DOH) website. The rules will be published in the State Register on November 10th which will initiate a 60 day public comment period that will close on 11 January, 2021. The release of the proposed rules by DOH moves the industry positively forward in securing the economic viability of the cannabis industry and while we are pleased with many aspects of the rule, there are some initial disappointments. The ban on sale of hemp flower is not an acceptable outcome. We understand the impact this has on all farms, with the smallest farms taking the brunt of the economic impact of this regulation.
While this critical issue can sully the ability to see the wins in the regulations, there are in fact many wins that we as the Association worked hard to procure. Among the positive outcomes was the inclusion of extract in food and beverage, quality and labeling standardization, and overall the release of the proposed rules is a significant step in further legitimizing the hemp industry. In addition, there are several wins that were achieved by keeping certain issues out of the regulations. We successfully negotiated the removal of the 18 years and older requirement to purchase CBD. These positive outcomes and avoidance of some negative aspects of the rule were achieved through our efforts in establishing a good working relationship with the Governor’s office and the Department of Health.
There were periods where we worked near daily with regulators and fought tooth-and-nail for legalizing the sale of smokeable flower in loose form. The reversal of this compromise to completely prohibit smokeable flower came at the 11th hour on the heels of the proposed rule going to publication. We feel extremely disappointed in this decision and will not stand down.
We will be coordinating and submitting member comments on the proposed rule. We encourage all to read the rules and provide comments. Further, we are working to implement a strong campaign on the impact of the current rule on the small farmer. We view these issues as precursors to what future legislation on adult use will hold. The Association takes very seriously the cornerstone of our mission–securing a fair, equitable, and economically feasible industry for small and mid-size farmers and processors. In order to build our campaign to secure the economic viability of small farmers, we will embark on a robust membership drive to broaden our coalition base and amplify our voice within the state. We hope all members will help to encourage all farmers and processors to join the Association and stand united as one coalition focused on the same outcome.
In order to assist with messaging and expanding membership, the Association is setting up Regional Committees led by Board appointed Regional Chairs. Regional Committees will help coordinate member input for Association comments to the proposed rule, better communicate the needs of the regions to the Association, help increase our membership base, and broaden community support for the Association and its mission. We established our first Committee in Long Island and it includes Nassau and Suffolk counties. We will be continuing to establish committees in regions throughout the state. I am pleased to announce David Falkowski of Open Minded Organics as the new Chair of the Long Island Regional Committee.
The NYCGPA was established with the intent to become the face of the New York Cannabis industry, representing the needs of small and mid-sized farmers and processors throughout New York State. We believe building a strong broad based coalition of support is key to placing us in the best position to achieve our goals. We hope you will help us to grow by encouraging fellow processors and growers to join and sign on to our comments to the proposed rule. We are gearing up for the next phase of the battle, and it is a battle we believe we can win. We thank you for your continued support and engagement!
Together, is How New York Grows