Cannabis Control Board Updates Medical Cannabis Cultivation Regulations

J.M. Lesinski
Photo by J.M. Lesinski

The New York State Cannabis Control Board recently convened to advance the regulations for the at home cultivation of medicinal cannabis. The recent home cultivation announcement follows the board’s decision to allow whole flower in the medical cannabis program pursuant to their October 5 meeting.

“With today’s vote, we are advancing these measures for the home cultivation of medical cannabis for the public’s input as we continue to expand the program and give more New Yorkers access to this medicine and the relief it provides,” remarked Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright of the recent vote. “Thanks to the quick action by Governor Hochul and the Legislature in appointing the Board and agency leadership, we are moving full-steam ahead and look forward to continuing to expand the medical program and building a new industry that will operate safely and deliver opportunity to the communities most harmed by the war on drugs.”

The regulations involved in medical cannabis home cultivation discussed at the recent meeting allow for up to three mature plants and three immature plants per person and a cap of six mature and six immature within or on the grounds of any private residence, so long as they are kept in a secure location not readily accessible to anyone under the age of 21 and the grower has their medical card.

"I applaud Governor Hochul, the Cannabis Control Board, and the entire team at the Office of Cannabis Management for swiftly addressing this long-standing issue for certified patients and their caregivers,” New York State Senator Diane Savino said of the vote. “The draft regulations clearly lay out a program that will allow limited home cultivation in a safe manner, preventing diversion and abuse and allowing patients and caregivers who may be far from existing dispensaries the ability to manage their use. I look forward to hearing the comments and recommendations to come during the public comment period and am confident New York will emerge as the leader in this space."

Designated caregivers aged 21 or older who are caring for a patient under 21, or who is unable to cultivate on their own, may also grow up to six cannabis plants for one certified patient. However, no patient can have more than one caregiver growing on their behalf. If a caregiver has more than one medical patient, the caregiver may grow one plant for each patient they have above the first six.

“Home cultivation will give medical patients and their caregivers another way to access needed medication,” noted Assembly Health Committee Chair and original medical marijuana bill sponsor Richard Gottfried. “This follows the important recent addition of whole flower to the medical program, expansion of eligible practitioners, and removal of patient registration fees. I commend Governor Hochul and the Cannabis Control Board for another step towards a progressive, accessible medical cannabis program.”

Additionally, Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander updated the board on the MRTA expungement of marijuana related charges at the meeting. At present, 203,000 marijuana related charges are being suppressed from criminal background searches and are in process of being expunged.

“The MRTA reformed New York’s criminal justice system and strives to end decades of disproportionate enforcement of New York’s marijuana laws,” Alexander commented of the vote. “A key component of these reforms is the expungement of past criminal convictions for individuals with previous convictions for activities that are no longer criminalized. When completed the actions of the 2019 and 2021 laws will have expunged the records of over 400,000 New Yorkers – a staggering reminder the impact that cannabis prohibition had on so many lives. The Office is committed to working with State and local partners to ensure New Yorkers are made aware of this relief.”

The next meeting of the New York State Cannabis Control Board will be on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.

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Professional journalist for over five years, covering topics all up and down both coasts of the United States, including arts, music, food, politics, and culture. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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