The New York (“NY”) Cannabis Control Board recently approved regulations for Adult-Use Cannabis, including those applicable to packaging, labeling, marketing, advertising and laboratory testing. By this effort, the Board has effectively advanced the regulations to the next phase of the legislative process: a 60-day public comment period, which will begin on June 15, 2022.
What do the NY Marijuana Marketing regulations cover?
First, it is important to distinguish between two categories of marijuana regulations: those that apply to (1) Medical Cannabis, and (2) Adult-Use Cannabis. While we recently wrote about NY marijuana advertising rules applicable to the Medical Cannabis Program, this post, and the regulations discussed herein, focus primarily on Adult-Use regulations.
The stated purpose of these Adult-Use regulations is “to help protect public health and reduce waste.” According to Chris Alexander, Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management, the regulations are intended to “help keep marijuana products away from children and ensure they’re of the highest quality and safe to consume.”
The Adult-Use marketing regulations are divided into three key categories: (1) packaging and labeling, (2) marketing and advertising, and (3) laboratory testing. Regarding the first listed item, the regulations require that the packaging be child-resistant, tamper-evident, non-toxic, and not attractive to young people. Further, labeling would need to include relevant warnings, and details concerning serving size, potency, ingredients, and usage and storage instructions.
NY Marketing of Marijuana to Adults Only
With respect to marketing and advertising, the approved regulations require that marketing efforts be limited to adult-only audiences. Importantly, such advertising efforts may not target minors in any way. In fact, the regulations detail the content and format of the subject advertising itself and require cannabis businesses to take certain proactive measures to ensure that young people are not exposed to such marketing.
Please note, the regulations as proposed may be revised during the upcoming 60-day comment period. In light of the requirements and restrictions contained in the current proposed regulations, and potential changes thereto, it is recommended that cannabis business owners consult with knowledgeable marketing attorneys to learn how to meet their statutory compliance obligations.
Cannabis Board Also Approves Additional 16 Adult-Use Cannabis Conditional Cultivator Licenses
In a related measure, the NY Cannabis Control Board issued an additional 16 Adult-Use Cannabis Conditional Cultivator Licenses, bringing the total number of licensed farmers to date to 162. Please note that, back in February, 2022, Governor Hochul signed legislation providing an opportunity for New York’s hemp farmers to grow cannabis.
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