Everything New York Cannabis Processors Need to Know Now

2023 Updates For New York Cannabis Processors

In our last article, we highlighted everything you need to know in New York as a prospective retailer within the revised regulations from the Cannabis Control Board (“Board”). Now, it’s the processors turn!

What Cannabis Processors Can and Can’t Do

Of the different license types detailed in the revised regulations, perhaps none have remained as overall unchanged between drafts as the cannabis processor license. No changes to canopy sizes like in the case of cultivators or the inclusion of designated consumption areas like for retailers, but there are still plenty of technical details prospective processor applicants should be made aware of. For starters, a processor may only enter into branding or white labeling agreements with its true parties of interest, or another licensee. What this means is that processors can only enter these specific agreements with individuals or businesses which qualify as being part of its true party of interest (more on TPI’s in a bit) or another licensed processor. It’s a requirement which means individuals who are not regarded as being the license holders TPI or having a processor themselves cannot enter into a branding or white labeling agreement with a processor.

We also saw the addition of language which will allow processors to purchase mature cannabis from a nursery if the cannabis was grown for seed production and the seeds have been removed. There has also been an addition that processors will not package any other goods in the same package with a few exceptions. This provision has already raised some concerns about sustainability and single-use plastics.

Provisional Licenses Are Available

Don’t have a property for your processing facility? Have no fear, provisionals are here! Qualified applicants who meet all the other necessary criteria for operations in the application process can be awarded a provisional license, which is good for one year, as they seek out a property. Applicants would still have needed to submit all the required materials for a final license and once a property is secured, the provisional licensee would go through a conversion process for the annual license. The Board may prioritize provisional status and social and economic equity status in the review and issuance process.

Social Equity and License Prioritization

Like with retailers and other license types, New York is actively working to boost its social and economic equity opportunities. So much so that in an intriguing development, the revised regulations have stipulated that the Office will endeavor to identify all social and economic equity qualifying licensees, regardless of whether such licensee applied as a social and economic equity applicant.

On top of this, we have extra priority status, which is for select groups, with this criteria being expanded to include teams composed entirely of distressed-farmers, service-disabled veterans, and persons living in communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition. Applicants may also be considered for provisional licenses, admission to the social and economic equity incubator program, and offered to reapply after completing the incubator program if their application is denied.

Changes to the Operating Plan

Multiple plans identified in the revised regulations received updates, clarifications, or even complete overhauls (I’m looking at you Energy and Environmental Plan!) but one of the surprising expansions in these revised regulations was the inclusion of an Employee Handbook. This handbook shall be included within the Operating Plan and 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.

In addition, we saw some modifications to the crucial odor mitigation plan which has been reduced greatly and requirements are not as stringent as they previously had been.

Become A New York Cannabis Processor – New York Consultants Can Help Make it Happen

The first application window for New York cannabis licenses will be here before you know it, and time is of the essence to gather all the necessary materials for submission. It’s never too early to begin laying the groundwork to have all your materials ready to go, especially as a processor seeking to benefit the most from that first mover advantage.

If you haven’t kept an active pulse on application developments, we encourage you to review our state Guide to New York Cannabis and contact our New York Cannabis Consultants to put together a winning business plan today.

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