Everything New York Cannabis Cultivators Need to Know Now

2023 Updates For New York Cannabis Cultivators

We’ve already discussed cannabis license updates for retailers and processors, so now let’s look to our cultivators and highlight everything prospective cultivators need to know regarding the revised regulations from the Cannabis Control Board (“Board”) and how these might impact cannabis license opportunities.

Changes To Cannabis Canopy Tiers

Surprising hardly anyone, cultivators saw some updates to the tiers and their sizes. Although, we were expecting more changes than what we got. Specifically, Tier 4 Combination Cultivators saw a technical update which clarified that for qualifying for this specific tier, the canopy square footage of mixed light cannot exceed 15,000. This is a 5,000 square foot increase from the previous regulations.

Conditional Cultivation Licenses and Expansion Opportunities

We also saw some additional clarity when it comes to the conditional cultivator licenses—desperately needed given we have so many conditional cultivators operating currently which will be looking to convert to the annual license. An important clarification for conditional cultivators is that while holding this license, they cannot expand or reduce their cultivation canopy beyond their licensed cultivation tier unless they have received written approval from the Office of Cannabis Management (“Office”) allowing this. In addition, certain restrictions apply to how much expansion is allowable while possessing a conditional license. For instance, a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Mixed Light license cannot expand beyond a Tier 3 Mixed Light license.  As well, new stipulations highlight that neither the Office or the Board will authorize an increase in the number of lights for this license type (the conditional cultivator) without the issuance of regulations.

Major Changes to Energy and Environmental Plans

There are several plans and elements which have been impacted by the revised regulations, but arguably none of them have been overhauled as much as those related to the Energy and Environmental Plan. While this has been mentioned in past blog posts, the cultivators specifically will deal with the brunt of the changes here. This is not a matter of addition or expanding this plan but contracting it. In the previous regulations, the Energy and Environmental Plan stretched out across seven pages and clocked in at over 1,400 words with 12 subsections. In the revised regulations, the new requirements in this plan have shrunk to roughly two pages at just under 400 words and containing only three subsections. Plans of actions towards reducing the use of single-use plastics, for instance, have been removed. This should make the plan itself and requirements for cultivators easier than anticipated, but removing key energy and environmental benchmarks and goals has caused controversy. This is especially the case with the updates to the definition of being an indoor cultivator, which has now added carbon dioxide generators as an option of use in an enclosed climate-controlled structure when in the previous regulations, applicants had to detail how they would reduce their carbon emissions.

Looking Inside Cultivator Operation Plans

For cultivators specifically, one of the most crucial plans which could have been found in the previous round of regulations was an odor mitigation plan. While there are still mentions and crucial information which is necessary in addressing odor mitigation, the requirements similar to the Energy and Environmental Plan has been reduced greatly on what prospective applicants need to submit and prepare for in advanced. As well, we have seen the inclusion of a new Employee Handbook which will delineate employee roles and responsibilities, detail the physical effects of cannabis on the human body, highlight the risks of cannabis use and over-use, and assist employees in compliance with inventory tracking requirements to name just a few sections.

Purchasing Initial Cannabis Inventory

A clarification more than anything else, we saw the revised regulations add language which specifically allowed cultivators to purchase clones, seedlings, cloned propagation material, tissue culture, cannabis seeds, and other immature cannabis plants, including mother plants, from a licensed nursery. A cultivator or any of their true parties of interest may also be a true party of interest in a nursery, research, processor, distributor, cooperative or collective, microbusiness, ROD, or ROND license.

Don’t Be Late To the Cannabis Cultivation Game – Win a New York License With Our Help

While we don’t have all the specifics on individual licensing windows and whether or not the Board will award some licenses before others, don’t be surprised if cultivation licenses are some of, if not the first, licenses to be awarded annual licenses to shore up supply for other cannabis businesses in the supply chain. Our guide to New York cannabis will continue to provide an active pulse on opportunities as they arrive.

However, it’s never too early to begin laying the groundwork to have all your materials ready to go. Our team of New York cannabis consultants has decades of experience to transform your business idea into sound business plan.

Contact us today to get started developing your cannabis business and be in position to win a cultivation license in New York.

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