With new rules in place, New York opens up licenses for CBD production and sales


Albany, N. Y. — CBD and CBD-infused products have seemed to be just about everywhere in recent years, but New York state is now taking the latest step to establish the industry under strict new regulations.

The state Department of Health is accepting license applications for businesses interested in manufacturing, processing or selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD) made from industrial hemp.

The licenses are required under the new CBD regulations adopted late last year. Those regulations, which have been supported by many in the industry, give New York what are likely the most stringent standards in the country for making, selling and labelling CBD and its byproducts.

Until now, New York’s hemp and CBD manufacturers and processors, along with growers, have been operating mostly under the guidance of a hemp research program established in 2015.

While there are about 100 processing businesses that entered that program, only about 10 are currently active, said Allan Gandelman, a Cortland hemp grower and processor who is also president of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association. There are roughly 700 hemp growers in the state.

“A lot of the processors that got in the program did it on a speculative basis, waiting to see what would happen,” said Gandelman, owner of hemp company Head + Heal in Cortland.

Now, he said, the active processors will need to reapply for their licenses, and are likely to be joined by new companies. Among the active processors is Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards in LaFayette, which recently introduced a line of CBD sparkling waters.

“With the cost of the application (about $5,500) and the rules, this will allow people who are really serious about it to enter the market,” Gandelman said. “That’s better for the industry in the state.”

Hemp is a species of cannabis, like marijuana, but does not produce as much THC, the compound that creates the marijuana ‘high.” CBD extracted from hemp is a non-psychoactive compound that is touted by its advocates for health benefits.

In recent years, CBD in New York has operated in something like a Wild West atmosphere, with confusion over whether it is allowed in food, for example, and without clear labelling rules, especially for out-of-state products.

The new regulations attempt to clarify those issues, for both in-state and out-of-state products.

Under the new rules, CBD is allowed in food and drinks, but not in any product that also contains alcohol or tobacco. It can be used in dietary supplements or salves, but you can’t inject it, inhale it or use it in a skin patch. It can be used by vaping, but not by smoking.

The state hemp growers and processors group generally supports the new rules because they create clear guidelines that will help keep sub-standard products out of the market.

But they are fighting against a provision that prohibits the sale and smoking of hemp “flower.” The Health Department argues that falls under the dangerous practice of inhaling combustible products.

But growers and retailers say that cuts out some of their best opportunities to sell their hemp in its most natural state. Advocates say smoking hemp flowers has benefits that include promoting relaxation.

Here’s a summary of the some of the state’s new hemp/CBD rules:

· No CBD product can be sold if it contains more than 0.3% THC (that’s the psychoactive agent that creates the “high” in marijuana, a relative of hemp).

· No individual food or beverage product can contain more than 25 miligrams of hemp-extracted cannabinoids per serving. (In supplements such as salves or tinctures, the product can contain up to 3,000 miligrams).

· Food and drink infused with CBD and other hemp extracts must be packaged by the manufacturer. Extracts cannot be added at the retail level (so a bakery, for example, can’t add them to a batch of brownies).

· CBD-infused products can’t be advertised or labeled as curing any specific diseases or ailments.

Applications are available on the Cannabinoid Hemp Program page at the state Department of Health.

“Opening the application process for businesses looking to be part of the growing hemp industry in New York State is a critical step in the process of expanding our economy and building back better,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement released by his office today. “Licensing gives processors, distributors and retailers the ability to help ensure the hemp industry’s long-term viability. This exciting opportunity to be a part of the state’s regulated Cannabinoid Hemp Program is great news for farmers and consumers.”

Cuomo, meanwhile, has also endorsed a plan to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in New York. That effort has failed to win approval in the state Legislature in the past two years.

More on CBD and Cannabis in New York:

Legal weed delivered to your door? Cuomo’s marijuana plan now includes it

CNY beverage company launches a CBD-infused seltzer, among the first in the state

New York’s first large-scale hemp/CBD processing plant opens in Southern Tier

Don Cazentre writes for NYup.com, syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. Reach him at dcazentre@nyup.com, or follow him at NYup.com, on Twitter or Facebook.



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