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New York Regulators Approve Marijuana Home Grow Rules Amid Leadership Shakeup



New York marijuana regulators have formally approved rules to allow adults 21 and older to grow their own cannabis plants for personal use.

About four months after the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) gave preliminary approval to the rules and subsequently opened them up to public comment, members adopted the final regulations on Tuesday.

The rules will allow adults to grow up to six plants for personal use, only three of which can be mature at one time. A residence with multiple adults can have a maximum of 12 plants, and people can possess up to five pounds of marijuana derived from the plants.

Retailers will be able to sell clones, seedlings, immature plants, cloned propagation material and tissue culture to adult consumers.

There are also requirements on storing the plants and remediating any odors “if they become a nuisance to neighbors.”

The rules will take effect once they’re published in the state register, which could take several weeks.

It’s taken longer than expected to enact the home grow rules. CCB was initially set to take up the draft proposal in January, but that was delayed after a scheduled meeting was cancelled amid pushback from Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) over unrelated licensing concerns.

It also took a couple months after the vote on the draft rules before the required 60-day public comment period opened.

The adoption of the home grow rules comes on the heels of a leadership shakeup within the state’s marijuana regulatory body, with the recent resignation of Chris Alexander as executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) following criticism from the governor.

At the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, CCB Chair Tremaine Wright introduced Felicia Reid as the interim executive director, appointed this week by Hochul.

The governor also foreshadowed at a February meeting that she was eyeing potential leadership changes within the state’s marijuana regulatory apparatus because of the implementation issues.

Following the ouster of Alexander as the head of OCM, advocates at the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition said they were “shocked and dismayed” by the action.

Meanwhile, New York lawmakers have sent a bill to the governor that would make marijuana farmers markets a permanent feature of the state’s cannabis market, authorizing regulators to issue permits for cannabis grower showcases indefinitely.

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As the state has worked to stand up the legal market, it’s also dealt with a proliferation of unlicensed cannabis shops. To that end, lawmakers have also introduced a bill that would allow people in the state to bring legal actions against entities that violate state marijuana laws, potentially empowering ordinary individuals to sue unlicensed cannabis sellers or licensees skirting state law.

A news report earlier this year found that despite state officials levying more than $25 million in fines against unlicensed retailers for selling cannabis products since last year, only a tiny fraction of those fines had been collected by either the New York Tax Department or OCM.

In an attempt to rein in unlicensed sales, Hochul in February called on big tech companies such as Google and Meta to “do the right thing” by taking steps to stop promoting illicit marijuana shops, which have proliferated across the state.

Meanwhile, a top New York lawmaker introduced a bill this month to legalize psilocybin for adults, provided they obtain a permit after undergoing a health screening and educational course.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based managing editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.


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