On March 31, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the much-anticipated “Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (the “MRTA”). You can find our ongoing coverage of all things MRTA here. What isn’t obvious from the title of this new law, however, is that it includes provisions that may change how the state will eventually regulate its hemp industry.

The MRTA is the first state law that proposes to centralize the regulation of cannabis operators, including hemp and marijuana stakeholders. As we previously discussed, the MRTA tasked the Cannabis Control Board (the “CCB”) with implementing rules and regulations for “cannabinoid hemp” and marijuana which will eventually be administered by the Office of Cannabis Management (the “OCM”).

This is significant because just a year ago, the state enacted A08977, which instructed the New York’s State Department of Health (the “DOH”) to develop the state’s “Cannabinoid Hemp Program” (the “Program”) which was designed to regulate the processing, manufacturing, and sale of hemp extract and cannabinoid hemp products (finished hemp-derived products used for human consumption, except cosmetics) in the state.

Launched in November 2020, the Program requires processors, manufacturers and retailers of these cannabinoid hemp products to first obtain a license from the DOH, and

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