Two More States – New York and Mississippi – Have Expanded the Scope of Cannabis Use
February 9, 2022
The State of New York is expanding its cannabis program to include its adult-use, and Mississippi recently enacted a new law that provides for a medical cannabis program.
The State of New York Is Expanding its Cannabis Program to Include Adult-Use
New York’s Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA), which was enacted in March 2021, provided cities, towns, and villages until December 31, 2021 to opt out of hosting retail and/or on-site cannabis consumption licensees. On January 25, 2021, the New York State Office of Cannabis Management released data showing that 10% of cities and 34% of all municipalities have opted out of cannabis sales. The results of the municipal opt-out process are encouraging because more than half of New York’s 19 million residents live in cities, and those cities that opted out of cannabis sales reflect a collective population of approximately 118,000 residents.
New York’s adult-use cannabis market is expected to generate billions of dollars in sales and create thousands of jobs. Municipalities that opted out can opt in at any time in the future. Chris Alexander, Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management stated that he expects that some municipalities will opt back in as the adult-use market grows to take advantage of the economic opportunities it creates.
The Office of Cannabis Management will license cultivators, processors, distributors, and dispensaries to grow and sell cannabis in New York and is expected to develop rules and regulations for the adult-use industry later this year.
Mississippi Enacts the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act
On November 3, 2020, 69% of Mississippi voters cast their ballots in favor of enacting a medical cannabis program. On January 26, 2022, the Mississippi Legislature gave its final approval of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Blackwell, to restore voters’ will by creating a medical cannabis program. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed the bill into law on February 2, 2022.
The Mississippi Department of Health will have primary regulatory authority, including for licensing all business types and for the registry program. The Mississippi Department of Health will create regulations, including for seed-to-sale tracking, recordkeeping, oversight, security, health and safety, transportation, employee training, capital requirements, standards for safe processing, and to ensure safe and accurate labeling and packaging.
It is expected that the Mississippi Department of Health will begin the licensing process this summer.