New York regulators release guidance for adult-use marijuana retailers

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A ban on vertically integrated operations in New York is among the new guidance for adult-use marijuana retailers unveiled by state regulators.

The updates from the state’s Cannabis Control Board provide a framework for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CARD) licensees to follow.

The new rules cover a wide range of requirements, from operational hours and advertising to employee training and inventory.

The updated rules offer a bit more clarity for operators as the market gets closer to launch.

The first 150 adult-use retail locations have been earmarked for social equity license holders.

Among the big takeaways, the 27-page guidelines effectively rule out vertical integration for retailers in what’s expected to be a robust marketplace.

“Retail dispensaries, their true parties of interest, passive investors, and any management service providers cannot have any interest in any business anywhere that cultivates, processes, or distributes cannabis,” according to stipulations.

Other noteworthy rules include:

  • Hours of operation are 8 a.m. until midnight ET, unless granted written permission by a municipality.
  • Required inventory tracking, including batch/lot identifiers, transaction adjustments, product weight and volume as well as worker identification of those handling inventory.
  • Licensees cannot sell apparel or merchandise unaffiliated with their brand.
  • Stores must be located in a location with street-level entrance and at least 500 feet from a school and 200 feet from a place of worship.
  • Retailers cannot display cannabis visible from outside the store.
  • No advertising, except for permitted outdoor signage, can be visible from school grounds, child care centers, playgrounds, public parks or libraries.

Regulators also mandated the following curriculum for employee training:

  • History of cannabis use, prohibition and legalization.
  • Risks of cannabis use and operating vehicles under the influence.
  • Fraudulent identification spotting.
  • Safe product storage.
  • Security and surveillance.
  • Emergency procedures.

New York regulators last week told MJBizDaily the state would open recreational cannabis sales by year’s end.

That timetable reiterated Gov. Kathy Hochul’s early October message that the state is “on track” to open 20 adult-use stores this year, despite growing concerns from local operators and experts.